Christmas is a wonderful season spent enjoying treasured times with family and friends. Happiness abounds.
But not everyone looks forward to the holiday season. In fact, some people actually dread it.
Not everyone has the Norman Rockwell family or a close-knit support system like The Waltons. And very few people live in Mayberry.
The reality is there are many people who suffer during the holidays because theyre alone, estranged or isolated. Sometimes the pain is so great they can hardly bear the thought of another day.
Thats sort of how my friend Larry felt. Larrys a Vietnam veteran who served our country faithfully in the Army. Hes disabled from injuries he sustained during the war.
After he came home, things only got worse. In fact, things got so bad Larry had to go away and do something called time. Then he really lost everything, including his family.
While Larry was away, he started searching for answers. He began attending church services and reading the Bible. There he found answers, faith and forgiveness.
Larry finished his time and was ready for a second chance. But the dreaded holiday season was looming and memories of Christmases past spent with the family he lost flooded his mind. He felt alone with a tremendous hole in his heart. He began to feel like his life just didnt matter to anyone.
About this time a friend of Larrys found a tiny puppy that had been left for dead at a shopping center. Certain this tiny bundle of fur would be just what Larry needed, he gave the puppy to him. And everything changed.
Larry immediately fell in love with the little boy he calls T-Bear, short for Teddy Bear. There was an instant bond between T-Bear and Larry. Larry now had someone who needed him and depended on him for his very existence. Larry had someone who loved him unconditionally regardless of his history.
But as Larry spent more time with T-Bear, he sensed something wasnt quite right. He felt like there was something wrong his vision and possibly his hearing.
It was on his trip to the veterinarian that the doctor confirmed T-Bear is visually impaired. But T-Bears blindness doesnt matter to Larry.
You see, as someone with disabilities of his own, Larry knows its not really important how clearly the eyes can see. The only thing that matters is how unconditionally the heart can love. And this little practically blind puppy loves Larry unreservedly and has filled Larrys life with meaning and purpose.
Now Larry and T-Bear, both with their own disabilities, have a second chance at a new life together side by side -- true Christmas blessings to each other sent straight from heaven.
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