what I want for Christmas?
It isn’t an easy question to answer for most people, but for me, it is simple … I want socks, soap and candles.
That has been my go-to answer for years because I don’t really need anything specific and although I don’t want to sound rude, I don’t entrust my camera and electronic equipment into the hands of my family and friends.
This year’s answers were pretty much the same as all the others until a unexpected event occurred.
I didn’t expect, when I was making my Christmas wish, that Gatlinburg, TN would be so torn by wildfires that threatened to destroy them.
It changed my Christmas list. I no longer wanted soap, socks and candles for myself, but wanted them for those who had suffered from the fires that raged through the Smoky Mountains for days.
I now ask for Christmas that anything my family and friends were preparing to give to me, they divert and send their gifts to those in need in the Gatlinburg community.
They have need of everything I’ve asked for and I would love for anything that was meant for me to go to them.
I bought way more than my nieces need or want, and know that with their their network, they will get more than they know what to do with, so, excepting for a few gifts, I’ve decided to divert my haul to Gatlinburg so that those who have lost everything will have something.
I don’t have bundles of money to give, but I can give what I have and I can give my time. I’m not particularly great at anything, but I’m adequate in many things.
It is my hope that I can help those trying to rebuild in my own inadequate way.
Send my socks, my soap, my candles and any other thing my family or friends may have bought me for Christmas to people who can use it more than I can.
I’m going to go to the Gatlinburg area the first chance I get to help in any way I can. I don’t always swing a hammer straight, but I can swing one.
I could photograph the damage and catastrophe, but that’s been done. I have other talents and am willing to break my back to help my neighbors.
I have need of nothing, can not think of anything I can’t live without, but those who lost everything, and the Smoky Mountains that I love so dearly, and cry so hard for, have lost everything.
It isn’t just the people who lost something, the mountains lost something, too. They lost so much, but there is nothing that I can do to replace the loss of wilderness and wildlife.
My heart breaks thinking about it and I’ve cried myself dry over the loss of the mountains.
I want to give back, not to be noticed by anyone, but to know that I was there when these people needed me.
Give my gifts to the shelters who are accepting them and know that there could be no greater Christmas for me than to know that my family and friends cared as deeply about the people in need as myself.
I am in need of nothing. They are in need of everything.
No gift wrapping required.
View from Clingman’s Dome 2014