It was 1996 - returning to my hometown fixed a broken heart. After twenty years , most did not even know me. I'd been beautifully raised there, married, off with corporate life and love - parenting, then early and suddenly widowed and empty-nested. Our children and I worked hard on our grief and won the Triumph! But too soon, I was injured in an accident, while hot-flashing with menopause, and response work burnout.
And so it was Christmas 1996. Till my disability setup was complete, I was Staying at the shelter I had helped before the disability, still helping with things, and doing up alterations of gifted clothing for others, for their job interviews, cultural enrichment, including music and arts. And I was able to help with computer training: and even night watch, which was there for the men's but not the women's floor (but that's another story).
Memories of forty years of bountiful Christmases helped a lot, to buffer the suffering at the shelter, and I was able to generate some Holiday for me and the half dozen "mates" there. But then another family death took even that bit of cheer from my heart. I did not even have money for a few Christmas Cards - let alone the hundreds I was used to, since childhood. My emotions were getting a bit scary. "ACT ! " "DO something" , , . I thought !
As painful as it was, a walk to town was one block away and I went to the art shop where I'd purchased my first artists' mannequin as a girl, and found the thing I needed ! The spark rekindled on the spot ! I purchased it and limped back to the shelter, supper. Then I found a tv table and a seat in the hall - making Christmas Cards with a stamp pad and Mary Englebreit's Santa image on the stamp, captioned, in large letters
yes "Believe" I thought , as I set to it.
Soon, I smiled as the memory of a family movie trip, the very funny Indiana Jones Library stamp scene came to mind. I turned that thought as loose as I dared. With each stamp to card, the message of cheer and the word "BELIEVE" banged at my dulled consciousness - I was not on medications, but so battered emotionally , but this "Believe" stamp project was working - and so I did more - and more, now repeating the message to ME and the others in the shelter -
Grasp the stamp: "Thud" to the stamp pad - "BANG" to card.
Again and again and again and again - till the murky emotions let up and "normal" was within reach and I marveled at how a thing COULD help. My mates reacted with holiday cheer and encouragement - YES - injured myself, I was still being a good redcrosslady.
NO it was not over for me: there were "complications", to my own redemption, but a bit later, my rescue came, correct care, mybungalow for business and pleasure - and my work at the White House! "Pretty good believing, no?" More than I dreamed !
YES I still have the kit and cards and have not needed to repeat the performance with them. But I keep them handy - I may need them or need to share them with someone who needs to get their inner lights restored.