It’s a Wonderful Life(?)


Life can be a bear, but friends make it bearable, amirite? I’ve had an unbelievably challenging year, but check out what a pal and her grown daughter did to bring me cheer.

Sandy texted the day after Thanksgiving and asked if I was around, said she had something to drop off for me. How sweet! An INFP at the end of a holiday week, I felt slightly anti-social, but I hadn’t seen her in months and was delighted for a chance to see her face, in person. I’d been bundling up for a much-needed walk in the sunshine when she texted, so while I waited I paced the sidewalk between my home and the next block, eager to soak up a smidge of warmth. When her SUV rounded the corner, I hustled back to my house for a brief visit on the driveway. I half-expected the typical friend-gift of pumpkin bread and a holiday card, but was I in for a surprise.

“It’s usually just a family thing,” she said, “but this year Brooke and I decided to make two Advent boxes—one for my niece who’s away at college, and one for a friend who really, really needs it. And, well, you’ve had a real shit year!” With a MINOCA heart attack in April (my fourth), my elderly mother’s compounding health challenges, and my husband’s cancer diagnosis in June followed by aggressive treatments through summer and fall, I was the lucky winner! 😂 In stunned silence I watched as she opened her trunk to reveal a large, red-plaid box stuffed with shiny, wrapped packages—25 gifts—one to open each day of December leading up to Christmas Day.

Can you believe that?

Touched to my core I immediately thought of three other people who deserved it more than I, but I decided in that moment to make myself open to receive the kindness she intended for me. I believe they say it’s better to give than to receive because it’s so gol-durned humbling to receive generosity, with grace.

Life can be rough, and work isn’t reliably fulfilling, but the angel Clarence was right when he told George that “no (one) is a failure who has friends.” I am wildly successful and incredibly grateful for the angels in my life, friends who help take the sting out of “a real shit year.” It is a wonderful life.

Published by Beth Bates

Writer, writing coach, book editor, CNF instructor, connector, mom, wife, and lover of fresh air, grass, trees, birds, waves, sand, mountains, stories, and travel Let's be friends on Twitter @bethbates

4 thoughts on “It’s a Wonderful Life(?)

  1. Oh Beth, I had no idea and I’m so happy to see a new article written by you. You have such a wonderful friend! I’m just in shock that you had yet another heart attack and you’re so young. How is your husband doing and I hope the prognosis is good for him. Keep writing and I pray that this year ends on a high note for all of you. What a tough couple of years we’ve had!
    Beth #1 🙂

  2. Girl, thank you. I wrote this post as a cry for help but as a reminder to myself and others of the power of friendship and how much impact simple acts of kindness can have on a person in need of a lift. I count your encouragement as one such act! 🙂 Thank you, Beth #1.

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