A boy of 5 was taken to see Father Christmas. Father Christmas was in a grotto in a wood, accessed by a short train journey through woodland.
Father Christmas asked the boy what he would like for Christmas. The boy was a little phased by this question. He paused. He almost seemed embarrassed – then eventually answered and said he couldn’t think of anything he wanted.
An adult friend of the boy allows him to walk her little dog, a Westie, with her. When out walking the next day he told her he had seen Father Christmas and didn’t know what he wanted.
Finding this rather cute, she told the story to a friend of hers. She was trying to cheer him up as he had become very depressed following a diagnosis none of us want to hear. Advanced cancer.
His depression had caused him to become very fearful and angry. He gave up on life, distanced himself from his family and refused treatment for his condition. This had really upset his family.
The woman asked this man if he would do her a favour. He was a very creative and accomplished carpenter. She asked him if he would use his wonderful skills one more time and make something for the little boy who was very joyful about life and couldn’t think of anything he wanted.
The man agreed. As he started using his creativity once more, making a beautiful hand carved box for the boy, he thought about how content and joyful the boy was and he in turn started to change.
He started to talk to his family and agreed to fight his illness with whatever he could.
It brought him great joy making the box and would not accept payment for doing it. The woman had been a good support and friend to this man and his family and helped them understand that he had just become scared about his illness and the future.
By using his creative carpentry skills once more, the man had mindfully made the box and found joy again. He realised life was worth living. He had accepted that he was ill and needed support and accepted the treatment. He became more positive and this made his family happy again.
And this powerful lesson in mindfulness and compassion came about all because a little 5-year-old boy couldn’t think of anything he wanted for Christmas.
The boy is my grandson and the woman a beautiful friend of mine. I hope your hearts are as warmed as mine by this story.
I invite you to pause and find what gives you joy this coming week. Notice how it feels and the impact it has on your body and your life.
I would love to hear your comments. Please leave a comment after this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you all peace and joy this coming season and New Year
Jacky will be co-teaching Level 1 – Being Present with Alan Hughes at Samye Ling 13 – 15 March 2020 and on the Level 2 – Responding with Compassion with Heather Regan-Addis at Samye Ling Summer 2020.
We’d love to see you there.
Jacky has contributed a chapter to the Mindful Heroes Book entitled “Turning Empathic Distress into Compassion – A Hero’s Journey for Family Carers”. You can hear an extract from the chapter where she talks about the results of her MSc Studies in Mindfulness on Compassion & Family Carers. You can download a free sample of Jacky’s chapter here.