Yep, it’s that time of year again.
I’ll be the first to admit, this time of year hasn’t really ever held a deep meaning for me, but I do enjoy watching others run around, harried, stressed and frenzied, trying to host the “perfect holiday party” or insure their children have the “Norman Rockwell Christmas”.
Gimme a fucking break. Really? Life isn’t about how the garland looks above your hearth, the perfectly-shaped Christmas tree or making sure your children have the latest and greatest toy. It’s about remembering that another year has passed and yet you’re still here. You’re still here to look back on all that has happened, both good and bad.
Wow. What a year it’s been for me. Many changes have occurred, yet in some ways I’m still the very same person I was a year ago. Older, wiser, perhaps, but still the same. I have found a love that most people search for their entire lives, and some deny even exists. For that fact alone, I consider myself the luckiest woman alive.
Sure, I’ve spent my time feeling low. Yeah, even a “glass half full” gal has her down days. We all do. We all have those pity parties. I think in some Jungian, Freudian, Whateverian way, we all deserve it. But, even in the midst of my despair at certain things in my life, I realized something.
I’m not destitute. I’m not homeless. I’m not alone.
Even at our worst, we can all find at least a few things that remind us just how lucky we are. Since living in the Bay Area, I have occasion to see the face of homelessness. Men, women and yep, even children. Sure, some of it’s dirty, stinky, sometimes scary, and perhaps some people have become their own worst enemy, but I always remind myself:
I am fortunate, and regardless of how these people ended up on the streets, begging for change, reeking of urine, it’s not my place to judge.
Is it your place to judge? Is it?
Now, before you call me the Bleeding Heart of the Year, let me remind you that I can be one of the most cynical, jaded and snarky people you’ll ever meet. I usually believe that people have an ulterior motive behind every action they take. I know how tempting it is to throw a job application at a homeless person who bears a sign that reads, “Need food. Need work.” But, you know what? If you were the hiring manager at McDonald’s, and this person showed up exactly as they appeared on the street corner, would you hire them? Would you?
I don’t have all the answers. You don’t either. Neither does Washington.
But one thing is for certain. Without judging these people or their situation, I decided to make a conscious decision to help those who are less fortunate than me. Sitting in my warm apartment, drinking coffee made in my Keuring coffee maker, surfing on my iMac, I pointed my browser to the San Francisco Food Bank, and made a reservation for me and James to join others in helping sort canned goods and other food items.
No, it’s not going to save the world, but if it helps even a handful of people have a better life, then why not? Three hours spent sorting food items won’t inconvenience me, but I dare say it will help me possibly more than those receiving the food items.
It feels good to do good.
Sounds like smarmy bullshit, but don’t just “pay it forward” during the holidays. All year long, at random times, buy the person in line behind you at Starbucks their coffee. Hold the door open for an elderly person. Tip your waitstaff a little extra. Flip a quarter into the homeless person’s can. Donate blood. Smile at those you meet every day. Compliment a friend or coworker.
You’re most likely reading this post from the warmth and comfort of your home or office.
Remember those that aren’t.