December 28, 2008

The Meaning of Christmas

Sometimes we miss the true meaning of Christmas, many of us Survivor having to scratch and claw for everything that we've gotten.  Many times not having the things that we've needed, many times just going without because of the lack of help.  Many Survivors with children don't look forward to Christmas, for they not only don't have the money for the gifts to put under the tree, but they also don't have it inside them to be happy and truly celebrate Christmas anymore.

Christmas is a time of giving.  Unfortunately, it seems that society has become too commercialized and that giving is even less, mostly in this time of economic hardship.

We wanted to share with you how we've seen the true meaning of Christmas here in NC, where UAADV's home state is.

Recently, we had a group of 6 women and 4 children that we helped relocate to our area of NC.  As you can imagine, they didn't have much when they came here, and were in need of a lot of items.  Beds, bedding, couches, tables, clothes, you just about name it, they needed it.  Thankfully they were able to obtain some items before moving from the Shelter/Transitional Housing they were in before hand, and that was such a blessing.  But, they needed so much more, and we reached out to the Freecycle community here in our area in search of help for this group.

The response was more then we could have hoped for, and very overwhelming and touching!  So many from the Freecycle community took their time to clean out their closets, look around their homes, and find items that they could give to this group of women and children.  Children looked through their toy boxes so that they could give the children of the group something to play with, and stocking stuffers for Christmas.  One member that had already given so much, shared wtih her Church what was needed, and the group was adopted by the Church for Christmas.  The members of the church had their children go through their clothes, and gave many clothes to the members that were truly needed and appreciated.

Through it all, 2 sets of living room furniture was given, bedding, beds, clothes to fit everyone in the group, kitchen items, desks, 3 wonderfully hand painted computers for the children, toys, Christmas items, turkey and food for Christmas dinner, and even a Christmas tree was given!  This all came from the hearts of those that answered a post about a group of Survivors that relocated to our area that was in need, and such a blessing it's been to see, not only for us, but for those receiving.

Sometimes, during the Holidays mostly, we don't see that anymore, and it's a blessing to see it alive and well in our area.  Those that gave didn't have too.  Those that had us pick up the donations of needed items didn't have to take their time to go through their belongings to give to those that truly needed it this year, but they did.  Many things were new, and those that weren't, were truly given with love.

One donator shared his story as to why he gave so openly and shared the needs with his wife, family and friends, and has allowed us to share with others.

He shared that he was once "on the other side".  How he was one abusive to his wife, not physically, but mentally.  He didn't realize just how abusive he was or that he was being abusive until a life changing moment when he almost lost a child, and he started having anxiety attacks himself.  As much as those scared him, he wondered at how much he would scare his wife with his yelling, throwing and breaking things when he was angry.  He changed, he saw that what he was doing was hurting and scaring her without him touching her, and when we shared about these women in need, he has done everything that he can to help ensure that these women and children have what they need this year to have a Christmas.

Through this outreach for the group of Survivors, we've talked to others that have been through Domestic Violence that has given.  We've talked to some that had seen it as a child, and knew what the children that have relocated were going through.  One Sister Survivor that has asked to remain un-named, gave each child a Christmas bag of items for each child, and a large box with needed household items for each household in need.  They were giving back, and in essence, giving themselves a gift that they know they would have liked to have received themselves while going through surviving Domestic Violence.  Some giving because they knew there was a need, and didn't like the thought of women and children going without and having to come from Domestic Violence and not have what they needed to Survive.  In all, so many hearts opened and gave, and in doing so, shared the true meaning of Christmas to a group of Survivors that truly needed it...

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