by Corey W. Grua
Some nice blessings come with the speed of a lightning bolt. I was “hit” with such a blessing yesterday. I teach at a fine junior high school in Grantsville. Class would be starting in 10 minutes and my copy of the Transcript-Bulletin was out in my car. In past years, a number of my students have had their ideas and words published in the paper’s annual holiday writing contest. I thought a few of them might enter this year, so I needed to add the contest specifics to my lesson plan for the day.
As I opened the back door, I noticed a seventh grader leaving the parking lot and heading up the sidewalk for that same door. She had a flute in one hand and books in the other. I don’t know many of the seventh graders and I didn’t know this young woman. If I held the door for her, it would slow down my mission to retrieve that paper, and I was in a hurry. My coat was in my classroom and it was cold outside. Thankfully, my better angel told me to relax, wait a moment and hold the door open. I obeyed. She arrived at the door and thanked me. I said the customary, “You’re welcome.” Then, for some reason, I followed that with a brisk “Merry Christmas.” The lightning struck. I got that feeling one gets when you know you’ve said just the right words. They were simple and very traditional, but I did mean both the “Merry” and the “Christmas.”
We do that at this time of the year, don’t we? We greet perfect strangers with kind words. We do little good turns. As I walked out to the car, everything just seemed so very right and so very good. It felt something like putting a dollar bill in that round red kettle and getting a “Merry Christmas and thank you,” along with eye contact and a nod from the volunteer bell ringer in front of Sam’s Club.
A few moments later, I was in my classroom telling students about the writing contest and how they could enter it. “Are you going to enter?” one of them asked. They needed an adult to set the example, so I agreed to write this little door-holding story. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale recognized a fact I need to relearn every year: “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” And…simple.