By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on December 11, 2020.
Focusing on the positives can help us get through these times
This Christmas season probably won’t look like any other Christmas we can remember, nor could we have ever foreseen our present circumstances. Festive gatherings, Christmas markets, carollers and concerts, all the things we would usually associate with the holiday season just aren’t on the program for this year.
One of the biggest differences will likely be felt in the absence of traditional Christmas dinners with extended family and friends. I know that last item is something that many people are heartbroken about right now. The time we share with our loved ones at Christmas is often among the most precious memories we make each year.
I’m not going to try and tell anyone that this isn’t hard. The ways we do life, operate business and engage in social activities have all changed drastically this year. I doubt that any of us expected 2020 to look like this. It’s hitting each of us in different ways and it’s not easy for anyone. Some people are struggling with depression and loneliness and some are wondering how they’re going to make ends meet. Many have lost their livelihoods – a job or business that they poured their heart into. There are people uncertain about whether they should pursue school, plan any vacations or apply for a new job. Lastly, I think it’s safe to say we’re all sick of Zoom!
Everything is hanging in the balance to some degree and I know many are feeling stressed, frustrated and fearful about the future. I don’t think there are words to adequately express the losses that so many have experienced this year.
However, in the midst of all this, we need to remember what we do have.
There’s not one person alive right now who has all the answers. We are all doing our best in whatever position we happen to be in. Politicians, pastors, business owners, students, parents, health and front-line workersâ€¦ we are all taking what comes our way and, hopefully, endeavouring to do something good with it. This is not a time to politicize, be antagonistic or take sides. It’s a time to protect each other. And when I say protect, that goes far beyond wearing a mask, washing your hands and being responsible. The most powerful impetus for change within a society is the individual. Let’s be individuals who protect each other by looking for ways to band together, support each other and bring a smile to someone else’s face.
Hug your spouse and tell them how much they mean to you. Remind your kids how important they are. Call a friend to check in and see how they’re doing. Find out if a senior in your area needs groceries picked up and delivered. If there are people you don’t see eye to eye with, look for common ground. Thank a front-line worker. Shovel a neighbour’s driveway. These are the things that give life its meaning – and that’s not a statement only pertaining to 2020. Every year is a good year to show love towards others, to count our blessings and to pick something to smile about.
Yes, we may have to get extra creative this Christmas. We may have to make some new traditions and miss out on some old ones. But it’s still Christmas and we still have much to be thankful for. I would encourage everyone to look for the things you can do and look for the things you do have.
For anyone struggling with mental health, please don’t fight it alone. I’d encourage you to call our 24/7 confidential mental-health helpline at 1-877-303-2642 for information, support and referral.
In closing, I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year! Treasure the people you have and the moments you make this season.
Nathan Neudorf is the UCP MLA for the Lethbridge East riding. His column appears the second Friday of the month.