It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it?
From Mother Nature’s gut-punches in the forms of wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and volcanic eruptions, there is no shortage of folks in want of basic needs -- lacking food and water, or clothing, or shelter, or some combination of all three. Beyond that, this has been a year that has seen an unprecedented level of scorn from one person to another, a seeming lack of compassion or empathy that I can’t remember seeing before.
And yet… and yet...
As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of just how fortunate we are. We notice an innumerable set of things that we take for granted every day.
Our mere existence is miraculous. The sun rose this morning, and we all woke up at some point today. Every one of us that are reading this note possess a piece of modern wizardry in the form of a computer or mobile device that couldn’t really be imagined a hundred years ago, not to mention the ability to actually read. We still retain the desire to laugh at silliness, or enjoy a sunset.
And did I mention art? Music? Oceans? Weekends?
I have worked with Pat Tallman for five years now, helping with the Be A Santa campaign for Penny Lane. When I think of all of the suffering endured by so many people this year, I’m also reminded that these are the burdens the kids of Penny Lane carry every year. They will not be at home or with loved ones during the holidays this year. They will not have a stocking or tree, much less gifts waiting for them in either.
The desperation this year has brought about has also brought about great heroism. People giving of their time and other resources in order to benefit those around them and beyond their immediate sphere. That’s actually what Be A Santa is all about as well. Most of the donations come from folks that will never meet any of the kids, but that understand what it’s like to be in need of a joyful holiday season. These Santas sacrifice of themselves, taking a little of what might’ve gone to their own families and friends so that others can have a chance at the same joy they are sure to share. To every one of you that has donated this year or in year’s past, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of all of us at Be A Santa and the kids of Penny Lane. And know that you are making a difference in this world, in the world of these children. You are a source of happiness for them, and I commend you for that.
If you’ve never considered volunteering during the holidays, I encourage you to do so. It’s one of the most rewarding things you can do -- it truly is the gift that keeps on giving. And it is my sincere hope that this note finds all of you happy and well during this special and wonderful time of year. Happy Holidays, everyone!