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It goes like this.
The Devil has a garage sale. The crowd is interested but not big. He isn’t, after all, too popular. I stop in, against my better judgement. Curiosity nudging me along, I peer and poke over the collection of old tools – a trowel, a broken car part declared repairable, a stack of folded work rags. And so on, items in a tempting scramble. Then I spy a peculiar tool, a prettily shaped item. It draws me.
“What can it be? What’s this for?” I asked the attendant. I pick it up, and stroke it. Suddenly I feel odd, unhappy.
“Oh, that,” replies the attendant (a demon? Satan has millions of helpers). “That’s been old Nick’s favorite tool of all – he’s used it so much he’s about worn it out and is dumping it for a new one.”
“So… what is it?” I ask.
“That particular tool is, well, Depression,” he replies. “He finds it most useful.”


As I hold it, a pall of hopelessness settles on my shoulders, slowing my movements. Like an invisible cape, it covers my head, almost hanging over my eyes. My mind slumps into a moist, sad quagmire of tears, I’m assaulted by everything I ever did wrong, hateful thoughts dive-bombing me with every slight I ever suffered, every pain and disappointment I ever suffered. Who am I, to think I can do anything?  I’m worthless.
Horrified I throw the object at the floor, but it doesn’t fall.


Despair overwhelms me. The demon titters.
A person next to me starts to reach for it – I grab her arm to defeat the motion.


Surprised, she looks at me, then smiles kindly.  My depression lifts like a soft feather and vanishes.

“Wow. How can that be?” I wonder, puzzled. “Such a gripping mood gone like mist.  A mere smile from a stranger… and I’m back.”
“Let’s get out of here!” She touches my arm and leads me away.
The power of that smile, the power of kindness. In a blink despair is gone.
“Who are you?” I ask.


Her eyes twinkle. “My name is Hope.”

4 Responses to Tis The Season to Be Jolly – or not

  • This holiday season is a little tough–first looking over my life and being thank ful for it ( but maybe not so much for every decision I made) then for me I get to be another year older and creakier, and then thinking of what beloved people might want to receive from me. It is even more difficult as I am not getting around so much and am out of touch with most of us. Online shopping isn’t so fun, but better than trying to explain to the post office that you’d like to mail a package out of town
    Your blog really cheered me today with its sweet message. At this point I am trying for a gentle harmony and peace. I see the (not manic) happiness of others enjoying their lives and float along on their goodwill toward me–after all, I do have goodwill toward them.
    Soon the sun will return to shine on you.

  • Michelee,
    Really nice, sweet, honest story.
    It reminded me a bit of this…by the Dalai Lama and Arthur Brooks

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