My Little Drummer Boys

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By Sister Karen Zielinski, OSF

I never thought I would feel this way, but the gifts that have moved me (almost to tears) are gifts from the heart. My elderly neighbor, Alex, opens the door to my building when he sees me coming home. I use an electric cart because of my Multiple Sclerosis and he comes out and opens two doors for me.

Actually, it is easier if I do it myself, but how could I deny his gift to me? His thoughtfulness touches me.

Another neighbor, Helen, gives me her homemade bread crumbs. Every so often she asks, “Need any bread crumbs?” I always accept them—after I use them in some recipe.

What touches me about these gifts is that they come from the person’s heart–they are from their heart to mine.

Do not get me wrong–I like gifts. I enjoy a candle for my prayer corner, scented lotions and books, but the gifts from my Alexes and Helens really are given to me. Person to person. Their gifts remind me of the Little Drummer Boy:

“Come, they told me…
I have no gifts to bring.
Shall I play for him?”

Simple heartfelt gifts are countercultural, a gift exchange which can’t be beat. I think my neighbors are the ultimate Franciscans.

Sister Karen Zielinski

Health and Spirituality 

Sister Karen ZielinskiKaren J. Zielinski, OSF, is a Sylvania Franciscan who has lived with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) since 1975.  She writes, speaks and consults regularly on issues relating to spirituality and health. Her recent book, Hope and Help for Living with Illness (Franciscan Media) discusses chronic disease and coping strategies and is addressed to both caregivers and patients.  Karen also writes a blog on spirituality and wellness–Soul Sister– for the National MS Society website.

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