The Days of the Week: The Nice List.
Last Thursday was Thanksgiving, followed by Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, (I’m sure Sunday was something), Cyber Monday, and yesterday was Giving Tuesday. Days were assigned meaning, and given a sense of urgency in our society. Giving thanks. Eat turkey. Shop. Shop small. Shop online. Give to others.
What day is today?
So what’s today? I’ll tell you what today is; it’s another great day to do SOMETHING for someone else… just because you can. In fact, there are 365 days like that. Sometimes even 366 of them.
We live in a world of extremes. Where there are individuals with over the top wealth and abundance, there are ones suffering from poverty and severe struggle to find the basics in life such as clean water, food, and shelter. Some parents fall asleep wrapped in the security that they are protected and free, while there are others who are restless from fear of another attack upon them, or worse… their family. Children across the globe have education and literacy available to them before they could form memories that will follow them into adulthood, while others will never hold a book in their young hands, yet alone read a fairytale.
Family. Friends. Acceptance in society. Education. Health. Safety. Freedom. A safe environment. Not everyone has these.
When I allow myself to think about it for too long, a lump forms in my throat, and I begin to feel very, very, small. What can I, a struggling single mom, do to fix so many of the things that are broken in our world?
What can we do?
First, we have to recognize that where ever we find ourselves in life, there is someone who is praying for the very things we are taking for granted. Electricity. A warm jacket. A warm meal. A loving and supportive network of family and friends. These are just a few things that I find myself giving thanks for on a daily basis, not just one Thursday evening in November.
Once we appreciate the small things, then we need open our eyes.
It’s that simple, because when you begin to open your eyes, you will become aware of the countless opportunities for your hands to do good in this world. And when I think about that, a lump forms in my throat again, and I begin to feel like I have a purpose, and not quite as small as before.
Life is not a race.
During the holidays there is a heightened awareness on gratitude, and togetherness. There are celebrations with family and friends, and people often extend invitations and open their homes to others to share in the day. There is a swell of support for small businesses and local nonprofits, there are food drives and coat drives around every corner, and available volunteer slots are rare to find.
But once the days and the holidays pass, it begins to fade. Not for all… but for some. The urgency to help others, to serve others, the call to action to support this cause or that one, falls a few spots on the to-do list. The unused coats and clothing start to pile up again and take up space in our closets. We toss out extra food at the end of a meal, while not too far away, someone is alone and hungry.
Did we step over the finish line already? Did we get the good-feeling medal once we dropped off our donations, and did we pack up and go home, ready to return again next year?
Right now, consider yourself training for something much bigger than a race. You are building strength in character, and our world needs as many strong role models and helping hands as possible. Be the person that does good not only because it feels good to do it, but because you have the strength to keep being the light in this sometimes dark world.
I am inspired.
Every day I witness others who are continuously running. The race of the holiday giving will soon be over, and they will still be out there, hitting the pavement every. single. day. They inspire me and remind me of the countless ways to keep giving, regardless of the season.
They are running to raise funds and support for life-threatening diseases.
They are running to provide tools to educate.
They are running to bring food to the hungry.
They run in all seasons and all weather, and if you ask them, I bet most of them will gladly appreciate your company when the months turn cold, and the holidays are behind us.
Don’t stop running this holiday season.
Let the list of days last week inspire you to keep being grateful, to keep supporting small businesses, and to keep giving to others. We need your goodness in the world. You. Yes, you.
And to those who gave so generously to our Black Friday With a Heart of Gold, we send you heaps and heaps of love and gratitude. I’ll be honest, it didn’t feel like our dollars went quite as far as years past (below are the gifts purchased for the Westchester Christmas Dinner, shown without the donations for the Community Center of Northern Westchester), but we will keep adding to the pile. Each gift was carefully selected by my daughter and is something that she takes great pride in doing for the past few years.
Thank YOU for being a part of our tradition. (We even have an additional $100 donation to keep adding to the pile!)