“Glenna’s Gifts,” New Era, Dec. 2014, 47
My grandfather died just three days before Christmas. That year, my family received a gift that changed our lives forever: Glenna. Glenna is my dad’s sister who was born with disabilities. She came to live with us after my grandpa passed away. Ever since that first Christmas, Glenna’s example has taught me how to be more Christlike.
Glenna was born with many physical challenges, and she’s helped me see that sometimes the most beautiful spirits are housed in different-looking bodies. Because of Glenna, I’m no longer self-conscious about the way I look, and I choose to focus on what’s inside.
Living with Glenna has taught me patience. She has difficulty speaking, she often breaks things, and she struggles to do many tasks on her own, but she’s also willing to learn. There’s no greater reward than working with Glenna until she gets something right.
Glenna has taught me to find joy in the little things. For instance, at Glenna’s birthday parties, it didn’t matter whether she received a one-dollar bill or a one-hundred-dollar bill—she was delighted. And when we drove around each year at Christmastime, Glenna would shout, “Wow!” and clap her hands at each brightly lit home we passed by. She’s taught me to see the extraordinary within the ordinary. She’s taught me to see that there’s something special in everything—and everyone.
As I look back on the past Christmases I spent with Glenna, I can see the impact she’s made on my life. Every year, the one Christmas gift I will never forget—and will be forever grateful for—is Glenna.