I love this time of year. In spite of the challenges of 2020, the holidays are here with all the excitement and fun of planning, shopping, gift-giving, and receiving. Maybe most of us are wearing masks as we get out and about but we are still getting into the spirit of the season with decorations on the face coverings or holiday-themed fabric. Youtube videos abound with holiday presentations. Entertainers are finding ways to reach out with music and fun, brightening our days and nights while giving us delightful behind the scenes looks at homes and studio productions.
For me, I find the new looks and changes we are all making are very inspiring. Instead of being beaten down by the state of the world, politics, and pandemics, we are finding new ways to connect, to reach out to others.
Can’t visit a loved one in the hospital or a care facility. OK. We can stand outside with signs, messages to those we love. We facetime. We Zoom.
Gathering for graduation is not possible without risk. OK. Football fields instead of auditoriums. Car parades to celebrate the achievement of finishing courses in the midst of worldwide difficulties.
Working at home because it is safer than gathering in offices and tight spaces. OK. More time with families, with children. Games shared on social media. Videos sent to friends. Hands-on a screen to say I love you, to show off that new baby, to have a birthday or anniversary celebration where everyone can attend and interact.
Every day, someone comes up with a new idea to add something special to friends and strangers alike. In so many ways, we are closer than we have ever been as we are invited into homes and lives in ways we have never shared.
We have also developed an appreciation for those we have often taken for granted. The medical professionals who have worked and continue to work Herculean hours to care for others, who risk illness even death to care for those in need. The first responders. Those who deliver food and mail to our doors.
The truck drivers who ferry products in all kinds of weather so that we have the necessities of life. The clerks and stockers in the grocery stores. The farmers and ranchers who plant and harvest. The teachers who find inventive ways to connect with students and parents who have never homeschooled.
So, this year, more than any other in my lifetime, I am making a point to say thanks. Stranger, friend or loved one, each of you has given me and those who are close to me, so much in this year of challenges.
Because clerks stocked the shelves in the stores I use and a person stood at the register so I could pay, I never really did without food to cook and share when possible. Because a truck driver hauled freight, food, fuel, I had food to eat, gas for my car, my farm vehicles and, of course, toilet paper and cleaning supplies. Because the health professionals worked so hard, so way beyond the call of duty, so many who caught covid, returned home to loved ones and those they could not save didn’t die alone. A hand was held, words were whispered in those last moments. Love was there even when the patient’s family couldn’t be there.
Of all the Holidays I have had, this one is the one that will be in my memory for the rest of my life. This is who we are and more, this is who we can be when the going gets tough. We don’t give up. We find a way to reach out, to share, to give.