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Find yourself by losing yourself in service

By Donna Traywick

Mt. Olivet News

It’s Wednesday, Dec. 23, and I am enjoying being at my daughter’s house. They are all still at work so I will ramble around and reminisce a bit.

There will be just four of us – Greg, Alex, LaDonna, and me. At the present time we are not planning our usual get together at my sister’s house in Sledge.

LaDonna also decorates beautifully and has an Ole Miss tree with everything Ole Miss on it. Two smaller trees are in each upstairs window, and the large is in the den where we will gather around to open our presents.

This will not happen this year until noon because grandson Alex and several friends are planning to deer hunt on our Batesville farm.

They are hunting on the very land where we used to search for our favorite Christmas tree each year. After church on the Sunday after Thanksgiving it was always our tradition to bundle up and go looking for just the right one.

George would get out is 1962 green Jeep that he bought from Billy Nickle at the old Southside Chevrolet and we would set off. There were so many cedar trees to look at, and while George drove slowly we would critique each one we passed.

Some years it seemed like we drove for an hour or more, and then went back to the very first tree that we saw.

Another tradition that I always kept was to leave the tree up until February. In our turn-of-the-century farm house we did not keep heat on in that part of the house most of the time, and I kept the tree in a big bucket of water. Despite all of that, the needles would finally dry up and begin to fall off.

I’m sure it was a fire hazard, but the smell of the cedar was so refreshing.

Back in elementary school at Mt. Olivet, we would put on some of the most remarkable Christmas pageants. Our music teacher, Miss Lois Marberrry, was an excellent seamstress and she would make us the most beautiful costumes out of crepe paper.

I am sure the fire marshal would not have approved of that at all. My mother, who was also an excellent seamstress, made me a beautiful pink evening gown for a play we were having in the fourth or fifth grade out of crepe paper.

Since that time I have not known of a Christmas that we did not have something at the school or church. From about age 10 I always played the organ or piano in a program at the church. I missed it so much this year.

Preaching on FaceBook just isn’t for me.

What if you were in Vermont this Christmas? You would definitely have a white Christmas. My neighbor, Pat Boucot, has a niece, Lois Ellison, who lives in Windsor, VT, and they have 30 feet of snow. She reported that they have snow plows and neighbors are great to help each other out.

They say they are used to it and driving is no problem for them. They actually laugh at us for shutting everything down when we have only a few feet.

I hope that everyone read Emily Martin’s compelling story last week in the newspaper. She has one last footnote to that story:

She said, “If I were to leave further advice to the readers it would be that not forgiving will hurt you worse in the long run. You have to either get better or bitter. Not forgiving will affect you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I refuse to have the assailants think that it is affecting me in that way.”

“Forgiveness is not forgetting. You can’t go back to what you had. Live for the day, learn from the experience, move on, and use it to help someone else here at this special time of the year who can’t forgive. It was nothing that I could have done by myself, except for Jesus Christ. I want Glenn’s legacy to be that someone found forgiveness through this story. Remember the reason for the season.”

Ponder this: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself is to lose yourself in service to others. That was said by Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian spiritual leader.

Send me texts or call me with story ideas or comments. My phone number is the same as always, 901-828-8824.