[This story is set on Christmas Eve, as most of these stories are.]
A hospital orderly wheeled Olivia through the sliding glass doors to an awaiting car—a friend’s. Olivia had no car of her own. She barely had a roof over her head—the 4 days she just spent in the hospital would put a dent in her housekeeper’s wages from one of the large local hotels.
This moment, though, all was fine. She gently rose from her wheelchair and swung around into the car’s passenger seat. The faces of her three young children, all smiles, peered over the seatback. They would have mom back home for Christmas! A few days before they weren’t so sure.
Olivia’s trip to the hospital was sudden and unexpected. Her treatment and medications would be costly. Her meager budget would be stretched even further than it already was. But Olivia was the family’s only means of support, and she had come to GRACE months before.
GRACE case managers worked with health and human services agencies to make sure her healthcare was covered. Some of her medications would be provided by the Community Clinic, and the others would be deeply discounted by GRACE partners.
GRACE Client Services made sure her rent was kept up, and utilities paid. The Food Pantry had groceries in her home; the Clothing Room had given her coats and warm bedding.
Still, it was Christmas Eve. She was in the hospital when her appointment at GRACE Christmas Cottage came and went. Tomorrow morning would come, and there would be nothing from Santa.[Miracles take form in many ways. This particular miracle took the form of a phone call, to the right person, in the right place, at the right time. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve.]
Shonda Schaefer explained it in her Facebook post: “Got a call from a young mother who was just released from the hospital and missed her Christmas Cottage appointment. Several phenomenal folks banned together and I am now awaiting her arrival at the closed Cottage. And generous donors are still showing up to bring gifts! Y’all, this is what it’s all about—neighbors helping neighbors. Can’t think of a better way to spend Christmas Eve!”
Arm-in-arm, Shonda helped Olivia shop for her children. A few toys, a set of workout clothes, gloves and scarves, a gift card for her eldest, a couple of games, some books, three stockings and stocking stuffers. Santa would stop at Olivia’s home.
Olivia’s journey is far from over. She is getting stronger every day and working part time. She believes her stamina will let her go full time very soon. GRACE will be with her every step of the way with assistance, guidance, encouragement, and appreciation.
Sometimes that’s what it takes to make a miracle happen.