Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift...—2 CORINTHIANS 9:15 (KJV)
In the early 1970s, I did my psychiatric nursing rotation at Huntington State Hospital. I was just a teenager then, but those patients quickly claimed my heart. They lived in the moment and cherished the simple things in life, like lining up to brew cups of permitted instant cold-water coffee they drank from paper cups.
When I completed my training there, it was nearing the holidays. I shopped for small presents for all of my patients and drove over to deliver them early in December. The gift I had chosen for my beloved Caroline, who had once worked as a registered nurse herself, was a tall container of Folgers coffee.
When Caroline opened the package, she squealed with delight. Then she flew up and down the corridors. “We have
coffee!” she called out to everyone. For the next 30 minutes, Caroline presided over her rare present, sharing it with all of her fellow patients.
Soon, there were no more instant crystals left in the container, and yet Caroline herself had not yet enjoyed a cup. I
said to her, “There’s nothing left, Caroline. That was meant for Christmas.” Her blissful reply guides me still, every single day of the year: “Oh, Nurse; it’s Christmas today!”