At our house we’re doing the usual things…getting a holiday tree, putting a lighted wreath outside, buying a few gifts for relatives, planning the menu for Christmas dinner. I thought I’d have plenty of time this month to prepare, but somehow I’ve dawdled away some of that precious time. And now…it’s just around the corner!
Honestly, I’ve been seesawing back and forth this winter between what’s happening in my life and what’s happening in all our lives. The world feels different this year to me…as though the turmoil is cumulative and is reaching a point of no return. I am acutely aware of the thousands of people who are migrating across continents because their lives have become untenable where they live. I think about ordinary people everywhere whose way of life is being challenged by the new customs and behaviors of the new arrivals in their towns and cities. I have been thinking about the Native Americans protesting in the freezing temperatures of North Dakota, trying to protect their water rights and maintain their human rights. Every day I read about homeless people scattered in cities throughout the country and children living in third world conditions.
Because the world vibe feels so unsettled, I find it hard to focus on celebration, joy and gift giving when so much seems to be wrong for so many. Like, I suspect, many of you, I have written many checks recently for donations to causes I support, but I can’t help feeling it’s never enough. I try to support a balance of conservation efforts, protection of wildlife, meals and warm clothing for families barely making ends meet, and scholarships for young people who otherwise would have no chance at higher education. I volunteer wherever I feel I can make a difference. I know teachers everywhere are doing their best to keep their students focused on being sensitive to others and engaged in meaningful actions.
But truthfully, I feel overwhelmed. Although I am happy to contribute to help others, I can’t help feeling there’s something fundamentally wrong with a society that expects individuals to make up for what it refuses to provide for those who are needy, and for programs, like energy conservation, that we all need to save the planet. We all know there’s enough money in this country to take care of all of us. So why do we have to play these cat and mouse games with peoples’ lives?
I know we have to hunker down and do what we think is right, and hopefully “this too, shall pass.” I’ve enjoyed several TWT posts lately like “Keep your head up,” which is about keeping the big picture always foremost in mind. And I really am looking forward to time well spent with close friends and relatives during the holidays. But I am very, very disappointed in the direction in which we seem to be heading as a nation.
‘Tis the season…. Friends, I’d love to hear your thoughts in response to that sentence starter.