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The Best Gifts

“You should do a bread making video!” I burst out laughing. I’d been asked to do cooking classes and I managed to stumble through a couple of those, but a video? That was way outside of my comfort zone.

It’s March 2020 and we’re in the midst of a pandemic with COVID-19. People are getting sick and many others are afraid of getting sick. Some are dying, and across the world, leaders are working hard to figure out how to weather a storm that no one has experienced before. Borders are closed and social distancing is happening.

It’s been said that our society hasn’t experienced a challenge this daunting since the First and Second World Wars. A challenge that requires us to pull together to make it through.

That sounds rather bleak and depressing. Desperately sad…or maybe not. It’s like that sound of the first bits of snow melting and starting to run. People are doing things…nice things…helpful things…encouraging things. They’re discovering skills that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

The grocery stores were a madhouse of shoppers stocking up on supplies as the government asked people to start social distancing and stay home. It wasn’t just the craziness of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Flour, sugar, pasta, rice and canned goods were cleared off the store shelves. A last trip to Costco revealed no chicken, potatoes, carrots or oranges. I didn’t give it much more thought than, “Hmmmm…I guess everyone is going to be doing their own cooking.” In less than a week, the comments started appearing. “I thought I would make bread but I just realized that I’ve never made bread.” It made me laugh. Not in a mean way; but we live in a world where we’re told that we can do anything. Sometimes people forget that that requires learning and then practise. Shortly after, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did the video. It stretched me in so many ways. That was good but even better was that so many individuals posted photos of bread, buns and cinnamon buns that they’d made. They had time to bake and then time to share them with family. What a gift!

I also spend a fair amount of time quilting. I love it! The colours, textures, process…. all of it! Well, maybe not hand-stitching the binding, but that’s a subject for another blog. 🙂 It’s one of the groups of individuals who didn’t have much of a problem with the social distancing. The jokes are popping up everywhere about the quilter’s stashes of fabric being preparation for such a time as this. Many of the projects are gifts. Quilters have pretty big hearts and it came as no surprise that when it became known that supplies of masks and caps were in short supply, quilters went into their stash and started making thousands of them. Some are making bags for medical staff to put dirty scrubs into for washing when they arrive home. Such great gifts!

Parents are learning how to homeschool their kids. Musicians, both professional and amateur, are doing live concerts via Facebook. People are challenging each other for physical stunts, singing, photography, comedy sketches and more, just to bring a smile to someone’s face. Restaurants are bringing meals to front line health workers and still others are bringing meals to families in need. Messages of encouragement are being written on sidewalks and in house windows for those out for a walk.

The list is long of individuals using their skills and talents to bring encouragement to those that need it. Some of the skills are freshly learned and some are well honed. The thing that they have in common is that they are being used to give gifts. Gifts of compassion, care and kindness for others. These are the best gifts.

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