Storytime: A Christmas Story

Published: December 23, 2023
Author: Heidi Uskaure
”Hey there, I'm Heidi! I launched this blog back in January of 2023 and I'm having a blast writing in a laidback style. Although, my ultimate goal is to become a pro writer one day. Thanks for joining me on this journey!”

Storytime by Heidi Uskaure

The words had been sitting on the top of my computer monitor for two days now, but I hadn’t gotten much farther than that. My editor and I had talked about it and talked about it and talked about it. We talked about kindness. We talked about Christmas. We talked about the two coming together and the story I would write. Ultimately, we decided I needed to spend some time thinking about the topic and then get back to the story.

I can’t write a Christmas story,” I said. “I don’t do Christmas stories. I never have.
Well, there’s always a first time.
I have to have a first time?” I asked. “Really?
I have to ask you a question,” my mind played with internal dialogue.
What?
When was the last time you were truly kind to someone?
I had no answer.
Think about it,” she said. “And get back to me. It’ll make a great Christmas story.
And with that, she was gone.
I stared at my computer screen, as blank and empty as a blackboard in the middle of the night, and thought, I am in big trouble.
Because my editor was right, the last time I was kind to anyone was when I bought a cup of coffee from a barista the day before. And I wasn’t really kind then. I was just being nice. And there is a difference between nice and kind.

I went to bed without an idea.
The next morning, I woke up with the perfect story.

It was Christmas, and I was walking down the street on a blustery cold winter morning, thinking about everything wrong with my life. My job was not going the way I wanted it to go. My marriage was a disaster. My kids had turned into teenagers. I felt like my world was crumbling around me, and I didn’t know how to stop it.

As I walked down the street, I came across a homeless man. He was sitting on the sidewalk, huddled under a blanket, trying to stay warm.
He looked at me as I approached him and said, “Merry Christmas.
I stopped and looked at him. He was shivering, and I could see that he was cold. I could also see that he was hungry. I didn’t know what to say.
I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t have any money with me.
That’s okay,” he said. “You look like you’re having a bad day.
I looked at him and nodded.
Do you want to talk about it?” he asked.
I was surprised. I had never talked to a homeless person before. I didn’t know what to expect.
But I found myself telling him everything. I told him about my job, marriage, kids, and life. He listened carefully, and when I was finished, he said, “It sounds like you need a little kindness in your life.
What do you mean?” I asked.
Kindness is the key to happiness,” he said. “It’s the one thing that can make a difference in your life.
I’m not sure I understand,” I said.
When was the last time you were truly kind to someone else?
I thought about it.
I don’t know,” I said.
The last time I was kind to someone else was when I let you sit under this blanket with me.
I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even notice when he offered it, and I was sitting under his blanket.
But the first step is to start being kind to yourself,” he said. “Only then can you be kind to others.
How do I do that?
Stop being so hard on yourself,” he said. “You’re a good person. You need to let go of the things that are holding you back.”
I don’t know if I can,” I continued.
Of course you can,” he said. “Start small. Be kind to yourself. And then, be kind to others.
I was quiet for a moment, thinking about what he had said.
Will you help me?” I asked.
Yes,” he said. “I’ll help you.

We spent the rest of the evening talking. He told me about his life, and I told him about mine. We laughed and cried and shared our stories. It was the most meaningful conversation I had ever had.
At the end of the night, he took something out of his pocket and gave it to me.
What’s this?” I asked.
It’s a key,” he said. “It will unlock the door to your happiness.
But how will I know when I’ve found it?
You’ll know,” he said.
He stood up and put his hand on my shoulder.
Good luck,” he said. “I hope you find what you’re looking for.
Thank you,” I said.
As I walked home, I thought about what he had said.
It’s the one thing that can make a difference in your life.

Be kind.
It’s that simple.

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