A few years ago, my then 87-year-old mom told a story of Nazi occupation in Holland as a young teenager. She spoke of strangers walking up to their family’s home asking for something to eat, and how the family often fed those folks. While they had little for themselves, they still found some to share. If you listen to others from that generation, you’ll hear stories of hardship as well as acts of kindness. How did they do that? For many younger Canadians, the COVID experience many be one of the most challenging times we have experienced. Economic and mental challenge, restrictions to many of our routines and norms seem incredible. The anger, fear, frustration and grief are both real, and seemingly unending. The news updates seem dominated by negativity. Some have chosen to express their anger by participating in mass convoys or protests. Many have chosen not to. Perhaps we lack perspective in assessing the extent of our hardships? I suggest that we focus away from the Grinch, and towards others.
Shift some of your time, money, and focus away from protest and complaints Fill a shoebox together with your children to go to needy kids in other countries -who sadly understand the true meaning of the word ‘tyranny’as used in your protest banners Act like Coaldale’s Volunteer Firefighters who in an afternoon collected funds to buy Foodbank Christmas hampers. Kudos! Serve at the Soup Kitchen or a local Food Bank to see and hear the struggles of some of our own. Empathy and a little understanding may be may be an outcome Buy from a local restaurant or struggling small business to help them survive. Imagine their strain.
Say a kind word or a thankful “drive by” to the “army” of frontline folks who continuing to keep us fed, watered, education, heathy. They’re amazing.
Recognize that our leaders, in spite of their “warts” and missteps, have managed to guide our communities and media, have managed to guide our communities and country far better than most through this mess. What a burden they have had.
Be thankful for what we do have. Canada, while imperfect, has many supports and protections for the vulnerable, along with rights, privileges, and opportunities that don’t exist in many parts of the world If we can focus on these responses -to shift away from the Grinch, and towards others, we will not only honour the spirit of generosity shown by some in our last generation, but also gain perspective towards a better outlook and outcome for all of us.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas, and may God bless us all in 2021!
Ed Donkersgoed, Coaldale