I’VE FELT IN A RATHER reflective mood recently. Perhaps it’s the shift in seasons. Perhaps it’s the approach of Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s the deep concern I hold for those who are struggling. In reality, all three and more contribute to these present feelings.
November—with shortened daylight, colder temps and a landscape devoid of color—always brings a noticeable change within me. I prefer snuggling under a fleece throw with a good book in the evenings. I feel more cocooned, not as connected. That’s not necessarily negative, just different.
But what doesn’t change is my awareness that these months of family-centered celebrations can be really hard for some. Not everyone will gather with those held dearest. Geographical distance, death, illness and more separate. I, for one, seldom have my entire family together on holidays given distance and work schedules. Yes, that can be tough when others share about all of their loved ones back home. I’ve learned to feel grateful for the family I do see.
I’ve found also that focusing on others goes a long way in creating a mindset of care and compassion. A lot of people, at least in my circle, are dealing with a lot right now. Death. Illness. Job loss. Financial struggles. It’s almost overwhelming, the amount of need, the grief, the pain, the trauma.
I can’t fix things, but I can be there in meaningful ways.
We have this capacity, each of us, to make a difference in this world. Not necessarily on a grand scale. But in small ways that touch individuals in our communities, our families, among our friends and beyond. Something as simple as opening a door for a stranger; mailing an encouraging handwritten note; treating people with kindness and respect; dropping off a gift card or a bag of groceries; calling; and listening can make a big impact on someone.
My mom, Arlene, who died in January, taught me the importance of caring for others. As a mother of six, she always put her children first. Beyond our farmhouse, she did the same within her community, volunteering at church, blood drives, veterans-related groups and with other organizations. She left a legacy of love, faith and compassion.
We can all learn a lot from the Arlenes of this world.
Whenever I’m out and about, I feel especially grateful when witnessing the goodness of people. One of those moments came in early September while in Pine Island. Near the Hardware Hank, I watched two women, presumably mother and daughter, walking hand-in-hand down the sidewalk. I nearly cried at observing such love, care and compassion.
I celebrate, too, when I see welcoming signs posted at businesses or on homes.
Even a message of love imprinted in stone at a cemetery touches me. When I intentionally look for the positive, I see it, hear it, feel it. There truly is more good than bad in this world if we allow the light to break through the grey and outshine the darkness.
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling