“Kindness is the only service that will stand the storm of life and not wash out.”
The December holidays have always carried a large variety of attributes and expectations that are shared among friends, families and co-workers, but are also unique to every individual.
Many of us envision idyllic times reminiscent of Currier and Ives, Norman Rockwell or the ending in a Christmas movie. But we never actually experience any of those fantasies and many of us are left with a sense of sadness, loneliness or depression.
2020 was an especially difficult year for most of us. We had loved ones die in isolation from family. We missed the personal gatherings that re-establish the loving bonds of family and friends. We experienced a year (or more) of protests, partisanship, anger, misinformation and distrust.
As we look to the new year in this season of hope, we need to remember that if we want things to change, we cannot be spectators, we must actively participate in it.
Once it becomes safe to do so, embrace those friends and family that you’ve been apart from for this past year. Treasure them as if they were gifts from the Magi.
Make amends with your neighbors and especially those with a different political identity or viewpoint. You may not agree with them, but you share the same passion for community and country and only by building bridges will either of you attain the goals you care about.
Demand accountability from your elected leaders, particularly those leaders in the political party you most closely identify with. We elect them to both lead and serve us, not the other way around. We don’t lose our democracy when “the other party” is in power, but when we give our own political party “a free pass.”
Our elected officials earn our respect by representing our communities and country, but they keep our respect when they work with the opposition for the betterment of us all.
We have a lot of work ahead of us and a lot of catching up to do. There are too many people that have lost more than they can afford to lose. We can succeed if we all work together as a community with kindness, compassion and consideration.
If we want our situation to change, we, ourselves, must be the agents of that change. Remember: we are the hope of the future.
(Dr. James Fieseher lives in Dover.)