I was driving through north Philly this week and got stuck. Behind a trolley. In rush hour. The traffic light changes. The trolley doesn't move. The light changes again. No one moves. The light changes AGAIN. Cars are honking. Cars are trying to switch lanes and go back. And then I see the wheelchair being lowered from the trolley car and the woman in it is clutching her bag. The trolley conductor slowly lowers her lift, gets her off and switches the switch for the lift to go back in. He climbs on board and traffic is moving once again. As I pull up to see the woman in the wheelchair, her chair is stuck on the curb. Cars are still honking. At the same time, a boy on a bicycle drops his bike on the ground and helps the woman in the wheelchair up over the curb. Where were we going? What are we doing that is so important? Why were we honking?
We are all so busy doing. We are even busy giving. Giving Tuesday. Just click here. Just do it. Just pick a tag off the tree. Just do it. Just give a gift, give a turkey, give, give, do, give, do, do do. It's just doing anymore, it's not Giving. This kid, on his bike, on a cold, cloudy day had things to do, but he actually gave. He gave a hand. He gave a crap. He gave more than all those car honkers gave even when they are giving. He didn't give in, give up, or give out. He gave back.
It's not easy. But I think the difference between Doing and Giving is one little thing. I can give a gift, I can give very generously, but do I Wrap it? One of my favorite stores is PaperSource. I had some time to spare the other day in the city and I wandered in, just for fun. The wrappings are so gorgeous! The little winter animals in all sorts of bright colors, the ribbons, the coordinated wraps that go over the wrapping papers. Picture this: The red and white candy cane stripe wrapping, with a piece of brown textured kraft paper, little glitter snowflakes, small strip of that just wrapped around the center, then a red satin ribbon with an overlay of the red and white bakery string, tying a little branch of pine needles, with a kraft paperboard tag written in red fancy print... You could wrap trash bags in it and the recipient would be happy! Really, just so cute! Last week when we were wrapping gifts for a charity someone brought their own wrapping paper! I thought she was a little over the top, but No! She really gets it! Of course the Wrapping makes the gift! And it makes a difference.
So this week, as we come closer to Christmas, and closer to losing our minds, I'm going to practice Wrapping. Not giving, not doing, but Wrapping. All the things I have to do, all the places I have to be are getting Wrapped, with Love and and Joy and Smiles, real ones. Wrapping someone in my arms. Wrapping them in swaddling clothes. Watching the huddled hockey team with their arms Wrapped around each other.
I think I'll wrap an empty box in my fanciest leftover wraps and ribbons. And then I'm keeping it in my car. Just a little reminder of the Wrapping. I'm also going to breathe. I'm going to take 3 minutes for me before I get out of the car, no matter where I'm going. I'm going to focus on the little wrapped gift and breathe. Next week, on my first day off, I'm going to my mother's to wrap all of Santa - it's like the North Pole. We are going to binge watch Downton Abbey since I've missed the whole season. And I'll be ready to wrap. I'll be ready to really give the gifts. But first I'm going to give and not just do. I'm going to Wrap. It's Wrapping time.