This year, for Advent, I'm going to do my own version of an Advent calendar. Each day,
I'll be posting something where I've challenged myself to DO SOMETHING to show my gratitude for my life. I want to move from the grace and beauty of Thanksgiving, and keep that going as we move into Christmas. With all of the greed that seemed to erupt around Black Friday, I'm going to do my best to focus on good deeds, acts of gratitude, and generosity.
For December 1, I have two items to share :) At work, we are having a challenge to see which department donates the most to a local "toys for tots" charity. In honor of little Zoom, I picked the names of two one year old boys and bought them each a gift.
My other act for the first day is something I'd like to become a new tradition. Instead of going shopping on Black Friday, I volunteered to work at the Fistula Foundation in San Jose. The Fistula Foundation has provided over 3,000 surgeries to women in poor countries who suffer from obstetric fistula. These fistulas occur when women do not receive appropriate medical care during child birth. If you want to learn more, here is a link to their site.
I donated my time and was put to work stuffing envelopes and putting together some of their Dignity Gifts (the blue flower scarf - you can see it to the right and can buy it here). I felt like I was doing important work, helping provide this group with a way to maximize the profits from their online store. It gave me time to think about my own experience with child birth. Even though that labor was 56 hours, I realize that I am a lucky one, I had health insurance, I had health care, I was in a hospital. As I worked stuffing envelopes, I faced a huge map of the world that showed the maternal mortality rates throughout the globe. There were no words for the gratitude that filled me, that humbled me, as I sat alone doing a simple task that day.
I left that day feeling grateful, for my own life, for doctors who saved my life, and who were able to save Zoom, too. It struck me that I was also grateful for the start of Advent, and the promise of a new baby so many years ago. A baby born without a hospital, without doctors, to a poor couple, and yet despite his humble beginnings, He was coming to to fulfill a special promise and save the world.