As the nights grow longer and colder, many of us find a comforting warmth in joining with our extended families, groups of friends, or our neighbors. This year, we may be able to do so (cautiously) in person, or we may be physically separated from our loved ones and have to find ways to share time together even so. What's the point of togetherness? Is it eating a traditional meal? Singing? Giving each other gifts? Keeping loneliness from taking over? Whether it’s on a group Zoom, standing on the sidewalk or in a parking lot waving a sign, or through a heartfelt note, I can’t think of a better time to say Thank You than right now. There’s always a reason to.
Reasons to Say Thanks in 2021:
Who dropped off food or medicine when you couldn’t get to the store? Who opened the store and staffed the cash register and stocked the shelves and drove the truck that brought the medicine? Who grew the food and harvested it and packaged it for sale? Who cooked the meal – in your house or theirs or in a restaurant kitchen? Who delivered it to your door?
Who sent your child a special birthday message even though there was no party this year? Who read a book or told a story over video call and gave you ten minutes of relative peace? Who conducted class online under less-than-ideal circumstances, and still learned every student’s name in the first week?
Who helped your grandma book a medical appointment? Who connected you with your parent when the senior home stopped allowing visitors? Who guided you through new safety protocols at the doctor’s office, or made sure the dispensers at the door had hand sanitizer? Who had an extra mask for a stranger on the bus?
Did someone help you this year? Did someone make you feel that it was okay to not be okay? Did they make space to listen? Did they do something to make the situation a little easier? Or remind you that we’re all human, right when you needed to hear it? Have you told them how much it meant to you? Maybe they need to hear it, too.
And if you did any of this for someone else, thank you. Thank you for contributing to a healthy community, for giving of your time and your energy and maybe your money to show others that they are important to you and to the world. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for showing that you care. We’re all going along together in the dark, and it’s nice to share the journey.
Here are some books that you might read with your children to appreciate the interconnectedness of community, and the gift that is caring for others and having them care for you. I hope that your next year is full of connection, kindness, and acknowledgement of all that we have in common.
Family, friends, and neighbors help us realize that we're all connected with their kindness and generosity.