As we begin to enjoy the Christmas season, I am reminded over and over again of the fragility of humanity. I am reminded of the many people around us that struggle to have their daily needs met in terms of shelter, food, clothing and employment. I see the homeless and the working poor. I see those struggling to make ends meet and to keep a roof over their head. I see working parents who are continuously managing the ill health of their children in the context of daycare and the need to meet subsidy requirements. I see people struggling to manage their mental illness so that they can pass as “normal” in their community. I see friends and acquaintances struggle through this season as they remember loved ones who have passed on and are no longer with them. I see pain. I see anxiety. I see great struggle. I see hopelessness and despair. I see people becoming more and more isolated, retreating into a marginal existence in hopes of avoiding judgement and further stigmatization. And though one may be functioning well in this moment, we are only ever a choice, decision, illness or tragedy away from becoming vulnerable. You know what I mean – we’ve all seen it. The Uncle who was on top of the world until he lost he good paying job. The young woman who thrived in high school only to struggle in university as her mental illness emerged and took hold. The family who lost their beloved child in a car accident as they travelled back to university after the Christmas holidays. The middle aged woman whose loneliness has found its consolation in a bottle of shiraz every evening. We are a fragile lot, us humans.
But, this season also reminds me of great hope. There is strength in community and the joining together in the spirit of love, peace and compassion to serve and meet the needs of those who are less fortunate. I believe that in this season, there is a heightened understanding of the fine line that divides us and through our willingness to care for others in their time of need, it strengthens us individually and collectively. So during this Christmas season, I hope that you take some time to reflect on the challenges in your own life and those of your friends, family and community, knowing that you are not alone. You are not alone in your struggles and/or you are not alone in your willingness to contribute to making our world a better place. And in doing so, I would encourage you to think about how you can seek support if you are struggling or if you are in a season of blessing, how you may contribute to your own community.
In quiet contemplation, the fragility of humanity continues to perplex and humble me. It causes me to think about what really matters in life. It causes me to be truly grateful for the many blessings in my life. It causes me to want to live life to the fullest and to give back as much as I can. And so, as we head into the holiday season, may you and yours be reminded of the beautiful message of Christmas and may it inspire you. Merry Christmas!
Here are some of the organizations that we are involved with:
World Vision, West Parry Sound Health Centre Foundation, Georgian College, Teen Challenge Canada, Christian Children’s Foundation Canada.