Invite Someone to your Temple, Mosque, Church in December
In the United States, December is a time of short daylight. Those working office hours about 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM find themselves commuting both ways in the dark. Anyone with even a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder start going a little crazy. Furthermore, in many locations it reeks with gray, cold weather. Again, this can bring a mood down. The winter holidays can be a cheerful distraction for some, mitigating the season and weather downers. Unfortunately, for others, it may dredge up sad feelings of loss or hopelessness over grim-looking challenges. These people struggle to make it through December.
Chicken Soup for Anyone's Soul
Simple, Tiny Acts of Kindness
Even if you are one of those struggling with the dark and the cold, you can be a help – a little pinpoint of light – to others who may have it worse than you. In particular, if you know of a neighbor or co-worker who has recently separated, divorced, or lost a loved one, you can do that person a kindness by keeping a respectful alertness to his/her mood. Obviously, you do not want to interject yourself into the person’s life uninvited. Nor is it a wise thing to play Rescuer-Victim, in Transactional Analysis parlance. However, a kind word or compliment may have happily disproportional effects for someone who is down. Even something as minor as buying him/her a cup of coffee when you go for yours can be a ray of sunshine.
In the Christian Bible Hebrews 13:2, people are encouraged to show kindness to strangers. I know that Muslims give much kindness to others during Ramadan and the rest of the year. From the Talmud, Jews are taught that kindness is what life requires of them. Although I am not an expert on all the world faiths, I will guess that each encourages being nice to fellow humans.
Another Safe and Simple Act of Kindness
In these days of heightened sensitivity to our safety, we are not anxious to invite strangers into our homes. One cannot count on common rules of politeness and decency being followed by everyone in the world. It is not worth risking your family’s safety to bring a pretty much unknown quantity into your sacred castle. Nonetheless, there is a house which is public, full of people, and a safer spot to bring a guest. It is your “House of God.”
Psalm 122:1 states, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” An acquaintance or co-worker who has lost the person and places where s/he usually went may be lonely and vulnerable. An invitation to anywhere can feel like acceptance during a time of challenge. Even if the person politely declines the invitation, the thought remains that “someone wanted to spend time with me.”
A word of caution: taking someone to a religious institution for the purpose of converting or winning him or her into membership is NOT a respectful act of kindness. I am not recommending that. On the other hand, if some sort of joyful, warm service is occurring – an invitation to that might be a wonderful mitzvah (good deed.)
A Blessed Winter to ALL
May you make it through this December and many more in a good state!
Photo and text copyright 2011 Maren E. Morgan, all rights reserved.