Every year about this time the news is filled with loss. Loss in human kindness. Loss of those we know publicly and privately. So much loss. Our world, this life, is ever changing. One day here and the next day gone.
Our family lost the matriarch who had been the heart and soul of my husband's family, his mother in November. Now her death won't make national headlines and the country won't mourn her but we will. My husband and I have been married for 42 years. Yes, I know that's a long time. We were married at 5! Just kidding. But I've known this woman for almost a half a century.
She opened her heart to me and made me a part of her family from the very beginning. As the years passed, we didn't always see eye to eye but we were still family. She believed in family above everything else. She welcomed everyone. White or black, gay or straight, born of her children or adopted by her children, girlfriends, boyfriends, everyone was family to her. There was always room for one more.
Now you may wonder where I'm going with this, well I'll tell you: why is it so hard for us to be this accepting of those around us? Why are people surprised when we offer a smile and a 'Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday' as we greet them? When did it become acceptable to walk through this life without considering those around us? Where am I going with this - I don't know. I have no answer that would make a change in our world. But...
I can make a change in me. I can greet everyone I meet during my day with a smile and a heartfelt 'Have a great day'. It's not that hard. Even when my heart is breaking from loss or my body is in pain, I can still give someone a smile. I can.
So, I encourage you to evaluate what 'you' can do. The clerk at the checkout counter whose been standing on their feet for six hours, listening to whining/crying children, angry shouting adults, a smile and a little patience will go a long way to make their day easier. The kid at the fast food place who can't figure out how much change to give you, they need a smile. We all need a smile and some compassion.
As we go through another holiday season, one where our country and people are so at odds with each other, can you spare a smile? Many happy thoughts and wishes for you and yours during this special time of year. Let's make it a good one for everyone around us.