12.16.2008

The Christmas Dryer

Once upon a time in a land not so very far away, a lovely little family moved to a lovely little house on a lovely quiet street. The new-to-them lovely little home came equipped with a lovely older clothes dryer that was in good shape but not quite large enough to handle the laundry needs of the lovely little family, although it certainly did the best that it could and served the little family well for a while.

In time, God saw fit to bless the little family more than they needed or deserved and allowed for them to purchase a brand new front-loading washing machine and clothes dryer. Mom was in heaven and learned to view the normally daunting task of laundry for her little family in a whole new way.

As time passed and mom enjoyed her new clothes dryer more and more, she soon forgot about how much God had blessed her and even ignored that nagging feeling she had that her little family should bless another little family with their no-longer-used washer and/or dryer at no cost. Instead, mom thought about the costs of a new home and the upcoming holiday and decided to try to sell the washer and dryer rather than give them away. Mom wrote up glowing sales posts for her laundry machines and posted them on the local internet sales site. She waxed eloquent about what wonderful shape they were in and how many features they boasted and how they had served her family well. Then she listed how much she wanted for them and went on her merry way.

Days and weeks passed with no real inquiries about the washer or dryer. A few scammers contacted mom about the dryer but, thankfully, she recognized those before it was too late. Finally, mom realized that maybe she had done the wrong thing by trying to sell the machines and contacted one of her pastors to see if anyone in her church was in need of a washer and/or dryer. The pastor immediately replied that he didn't know anyone and suggested mom contact his secretary to see if she might know of someone. Again, mom ignored that nagging feeling and decided to skip the secretary and repost those darn machines on the sales site, this time at an ever-so-slightly lower price. After all, they were in perfectly good shape. The little family might as well make some money on them!

Within a few hours of making her second post, mom received this e-mail inquiry about the dryer.

Hello, You don't know me but I wonder if you would consider donating your dryer to my brother? He is a single dad, currently serving in the army at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and he is taking all the family laundry down to the barracks. A kind lady already donated a washer so now we just need a dryer. If you would consider it, we would be most appreciative. If not, please don't feel bad. I know it's a ton to ask.

The mom didn't have to think twice. Of course, they would donate the dryer! Even though it had taken her a few weeks to realize it, that nagging feeling she'd had in the beginning had been the right thing to do all along!

So a few e-mails were exchanged, and one sunny and cool afternoon, the army man and his sister came to the lovely little home on the lovely quiet street and picked up the dryer from the lovely little family. They were very quiet and almost embarrassed by the kindness of the little family but were so grateful and appreciative of their gift. With tears in her eyes, the sister told the mom how the army man had two teenage daughters who were mortified that their dad was washing their panties in the barracks laundry room. The daughters were most excited about the dryer, and their aunt was looking forward to teaching them how to help with the family laundry. As the army man and his sister drove away down the lovely quiet street, the mom was reminded of Christmases long ago when her own parents had anonymously blessed families in need and shown her and her siblings what Christmas was really all about.

And so the little family was able to thank the brave army man for defending their country during a time of war, and each member of the little family was reminded that it really IS better to give than to receive. And, hopefully, as the years go by and the little family's children have their own little families, they will remember the Christmas of 2008, and the army man and the Christmas dryer that was just a little example of the TRUE meaning of Christmas.

8 comments:

Amie said...

That was a great lesson Jen - brought tears to my eyes. Looking forward to seeing you all next week.

Love Ya,

Am

Yarnin_Mama said...

I loved your story. Did you post this over at Jenn's blog?

Jill said...

This was a great story! It also brought tears to my eyes.

Kathi said...

This is a "lovely" story Jen!! Seriously, it also brought tears to my eyes. I think it's easy to forget how many people are in need. Thanks for the reminder of what this season should really be about. You should submit this to your local papers.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for keeping things in perspective, Jen...and for the reminder. Rebecca of Rockford

Marzola Happenings said...

very sweet!

Chocolate, Vanilla and Caramel said...

That's so cool!

Carolyn said...

Jen, you are a wonderful writer. I loved your "little" story about the dryer. It really did make me think twice about listening to that little nagging voice.

Just want you to know that we miss you on the pw list.

Blessings, my friend.