As we move away from November, closer to the shortest and darkest day of the year, I can feel a collective sigh round the country. This year has been unlike any other, and although some of the turmoil is behind us, a mountain still looms in front of us. We aren’t even out of the proverbial woods on many of the disruptive and soul-shaking happenings of 2020.
COVID is still raging, probably more so because of the holiday season.
Racial Injustice is still scarring and poisoning our society.
The rich are getting richer (glad to see the stock market is so healthy while 1 in 3 American school-age children are suffering from food insecurity—are we still calling that kind of shit a ‘win’ for the economy?) The poorer are falling into depths of poverty they can’t begin to rise from.
The world’s still burning and flooding. Freezing and drying up in ever intensifying waves, destroying entire habitats and species within shortening periods of time.
Did I come here to remind you of the dumpster fire caught in a tornadic shit storm that is our world? No, I did not.
I came here to remind you that you are a vessel of light.
I came here to remind you of your potential to shine even in the face of unsurmountable difficulty and hardship.
I came here to remind you that your attitude, actions, and struggles matter and can make a difference.
Am I preaching to go forth and be a Pollyanna, ray-of-delight-and-positivity, spreading goodness and sunshine to the masses so that they can catch your optimism like gonorrhea on spring break?
No. Jesus Christ, no. Certainly not.
Look, we’re all reeling. We’re all coming up out of the dark of our own prisons. We’re all trying to find balance.
I’m just asking you, in the gloom and confusion of your current state, to get out of your own head for a goddamn minute. Get out of your own misery and extend your hand. Haven’t we been marinading in our own suffering long enough? I’m saying take a break—go marinate in someone else’s—(ew David, that’s gross).
Here—let me try that again—
Do something for someone else. Donate a little more if you can (be it time, money, or resources). Bring your elderly neighbor groceries or offer to put up their holiday lights. Send care packages or thank you notes to your local hospital for the doctors and nurses who are worn thin. Call your mom. Call your best friend. Hell, call your best friend from high school. (Just–don’t call your ex—nobody needs extra shit in an already rampant shit storm). Patronize your local businesses for the holidays and take out.
None of that appealing? Not feeling THAT altruistic? Ok, feed the birds outside, especially on cold days. Spend ten extra minutes playing with your dog (but don’t break your foot—Christ Joe, do I need to pack you in bubble wrap?) or be ignored by your cat, more often…perhaps at a closer distance. Read your kids an extra story. Hug them twice as long as you normally do.
Still not ‘up’ for that challenge?
Then at least wear your goddamn mask, wash your hands, and give people space. Stay home if you’re sick. Respect people’s level of comfort—do not call it unfounded or fearful if they choose to be cautious. Call it a civic duty to keep others safe and to not create more hardship to our front-line workers and medical professionals. Being a good citizen, respecting others, and thinking about the well-being of our fellow humans should never be seen as fearful.
That’s what being a light is about. Thinking about someone other than yourself. And that, my friends is the best gift you can give.
If you can do that…just one or two of those things, I guarantee something amazing will happen. The world won’t just look a little brighter. It will BE brighter. You will feel it in the center of your chest. You’ll start to see the world as a series of choices, opportunities, to glow a little warmer. To spread more joy. And I can’t think of a world more in need of the simple, small acts of kindness. No Pollyanna pigtails and sunshine yellow dress required. (Unless you already have the outfit and bitch you look fine in it—then rock that shit).
Go on now—get out of here and do something with your codger-ly, huff-ly, badger-ly self. Be a reluctant light if you have to. But be one.