Last night I was watching Larry King Live, a rerun he'd done around the Thanksgiving holiday, interviewing celebrities about their "heros". The focus most definitely was on the TRUE heros...people who make their mission in life to better in ways large and small the lives of others.
It must have stuck in my mind ... the thought of what's truly important in our lives. When I awoke this Christmas morning, my very first thought was that this is a time where so many around us are feeling a sense of loss and hopelessness. Now, at a time when many are sharing their time and their joy with loved ones, enjoying great meals, the laughter around them, the spirit of giving ... there are many, many others who are not. Their circumstances may differ. Some have suffered the loss of their homes or their livelihood, some are dealing with illness or injury, others are kept far from loved ones because of war, and many are grieving the loss of someone they hold dear.
As much as the holidays are recognized as a time for love, for giving, for sharing...generosity of spirit and of time, for many the holidays are a cruel and unrelenting reminder of "what should be" or "what could be", but, sadly, what is not. It seems each year reports appear in the media about the uptick in depression, even suicide, during the holiday season. Expectations met with disappointment may be part of the reason, or the emptiness felt when one has no expectations at all may be another. It's a sad commentary on our own "communities" that such could even be the case.
But while we may not be able to make a difference to huge numbers of people at any given point in time, we need only look around us. Every single one of us has the power to touch SOMEONE...maybe even to make a great difference in someone else's life. Sometimes it's as simple as taking the time to listen to someone else's story. Sometimes it's sharing a few words that lets them know that, not only did you hear what they said, but that you connected with them in a very real way. Whatever we say, whatever we do, treating someone, even when we may disagree with them, with a deep and abiding respect, that act alone can affect a change in them ... and it certainly is good for us as well!
Think about it. Particularly with all the challenges people in great numbers are experiencing today, there is no doubt someone close to you, maybe very, very close in fact, who needs you! Who are those people? What can you do to help them ... to ease their worry, to make their life better, to let them know they're not alone? Sometimes it all comes down to connections. Sometimes it's not what you can directly do that will make the difference. Sometimes it's a simple matter of putting them in contact with the right person ... a potential landlord, a potential job, someone to take in their beloved pet because they can no longer afford to care for them. You never know what difference you can make until you make a conscious effort.
Hero's come in all shapes and sizes ... as do acts of heroism. Imagine the possibilities if each one of us became a hero to just one other person! Imagine if we did even more!