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There’s no doubt about it, 2020 hasn’t been easy for a lot of us. The virus, the issue of systemic racism, massive unemployment, wildfires, hurricanes and of course, the election. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I cannot wait for this year to be over. I’m holding tight to the promise of better times to come in the new year. It only takes one small act to make things better.
It’s not just about all that we’ve dealt with this year, it’s how we’ve dealt with things. My mind keeps going back to the image I saw multiple times on Facebook this year on September 11th, saying something like “I wish we were the people we were on 9/12”. Whether or not you agree, I think we can all admit that we are tired. It only takes one small act to be those people again.
Have you ever had a really bad day and someone pays you a compliment on your outfit? Maybe a coworker noticed and put a sticky note with a smiley face onto your desk? It really doesn’t take much to be the person who makes someone else’s day. It really just takes one small act to make a huge impact in someone else’s life. There’s always have the chance to make it better or make it worse. Hopefully, you choose to make it better.
When I was going through my period of unemployment, I was fortunate enough to have the support of my family and friends. Some of my friends were also unemployed and we wanted to be there for each other but weren’t sure what to do. We decided to do a weekly check in to encourage each other, allow time to express our concerns, to talk to someone who understood. It made all the difference in the world to know that we weren’t alone, that we shared the same fears and we propped each other up at a time when we really needed it. It didn’t cost a thing and it made such a difference. In turn, we started to reach out to others just to check in on them.
My dad, who is 84 years young (and will probably not like that I just told you his age) and lives alone. During a conversation while we were all in lock down, he told me about his neighbor who works at the grocery store who would check in on him. “I’m going to work anyway, don’t make a special trip to the store if you don’t need to. Just let me know what you need, I’ll grab it for you”. Now, Dad has family nearby, and they checked on him too. Still, how thoughtful was that of his neighbor to offer help? This is how it should be. Check on your friends, your family, your neighbors. Even if they decline your offer to help, I bet that one small act makes their day.
My friend Vikki is the living, breathing example of someone who constantly asks “What can I do?” She was fortunate enough to land a new job before we went into lock down in March and frequently sent surprises to friends and family. Once, after receiving one her surprises, I called her to thank her and she replied simply, “You would do it for me”. She’s right, of course and she knows me well enough to know that if I were in a position to help someone, I would.
Vikki does a lot of charity events each year as a rule. Sometimes, we participate together and if I can’t attend, I always try to donate. She and I have discussed on more than one occasion this year how most, if not all of her regular charity events have either gone virtual or been cancelled altogether. I’m sure that there is a greater need now than ever for food and toy donations. She and I are working together to try to come up with ideas on how we can help others during the holidays while we are still social distancing and I promise to share ideas when we get a more formal list of ways you can help!
So, as we enter the home stretch of “the year that lasted a lifetime”, I’m calling on the better angels in all of us to ask ourselves, “What can I do?” It doesn’t have to cost you anything to be kind.
You can do something like I mentioned in my last post, Using Amazon List and create a wish list for donations for a local charity and put theirs as the shipping address. You can look at Amazon Smile and pick a charity (local or otherwise) to donate to as you do your own holiday or other shopping.
Hold a door open, buy a cup of coffee for the next in line, leave a sticky note that says “You matter” on the gas pump. It just takes one small act.
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