Think back to when you were a child and it was Christmas time. Or even your birthday. Remember the way you reacted when you got a present you really liked? It was like you had just received the greatest gift in the world. The smile on your face probably couldn’t have big any bigger. At that moment, nothing else mattered. That one simple item made your day and gave you a happiness that couldn’t be replicated. It’s wonderful how innocent children are.
When you get older, you still retain that simple happiness when you receive a gift you like. At least I know I do. I love opening presents, and when I receive something I really like, my smile stretches on for miles and miles. But there is another element that takes root when you get older. There is also that feeling of sadness disappointment that the gift has been opened. There is so much anticipation leading up to the unveiling. Part of the fun is not knowing what is inside and having to guess and guess and guess at it for weeks. When you finally open it, you are excited to see what you have received, but at the same time, all the excitement leading up to it is gone in the matter of seconds.
There is another feeling of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong. You may absolutely love the present you got. Recently I received a bike rack for my car, which, being a triathlete and always having to fold my seats down to try to fit my bike in the back of my trunk every time I went to train, definitely came in handy. But there is a part of you that gets a little disappointed in what you didn’t receive. I know that sounds pretty greedy, but we can all admit it is true. I loved my bike rack, but part of me was sad I didn’t receive the running shoes I also really wanted. There is a part of you, albeit small but still present, that secretly becomes saddened that you didn’t get something else instead from your list.
That is how I felt this Monday when I began packing boxes full of school supplies. I thought I had so many items, but when I went to stuff them into the shipping boxes, I found that they only filled up one and a half boxes. I was so excited that I had at least filled one box to the brim. That was one more box that I didn’t have before. That was one box that was going to change the lives of multiple kids. But at the same time, I was disappointed that I didn’t have more. I was disappointed in the people that haven’t donated anything to me, disappointed in the people that could have donated more.
But what I have to remember is that even this one box is like Christmas to these children. They are receiving the best gift possible: an education. When they unwrap the contents of this box, they will radiate a smile that I will be able to feel from the confines of my room. They have the innocence and the simple joy in receiving anything at all. So I have to remember that I am still making a difference in these children’s lives. I am giving them a “Christmas” in the summer. And I know this is not the end. I have many more boxes to fill.