I’ve not yet started winding down for Christmas but hoping to in the next week. I rushed past a woman walking leisurely down my street last week and realised that’s been my usual pace so have been mindful of trying to slow down ever since.
I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas for me this year as I’ve started reflecting on the year that’s been – we’ve had a good year albeit a terribly busy one but it’s been a very productive and expansive 12 months for us. For some of my family and close friends, it’s been a much more difficult year with diagnoses of serious illnesses, challenges with children or parents and other extremely traumatic events which have me marvelling at the endurance of the human spirit and the ability to go on, even when things are really tough. We are stronger and more resilient than we think – life goes on and we must keep going with it, even when we don’t feel that we can.
There are over three million people in Australia who live below the poverty line and it’s something that’s given me pause for thought this Christmas – as the eldest child who grew up in a single parent family, I have some understanding of how hard life can truly be when circumstances conspire against you. But equally, I believe in the three ‘E’s’ – education, employment and (self) esteem. Education is a way out of poverty and with that employment – a meaningful job that allows you to build a sense of pride and self esteem and a means of living a positive and productive life.
While sometimes we can’t help our circumstances – they don’t need to define you as a person – it’s what you do with what you have at the time that counts – some of the most successful people I know are self-made. We are all responsible for our own lives and our behaviour towards other people irrespective of good times or bad, are to me, the real markers of someone’s character, sense of self-responsibility and determination, and level of emotional maturity.
Generosity of spirit, consideration and thoughtfulness towards your friends, family, neighbours and strangers with actions that demonstrate your respect and care are the things that help build great communities and enable closeness, friendship, peace and understanding.
It’s given me something to think about this Christmas – to let go of grudges, to show compassion and forgive those we think have wronged us or who are undeserving in some way but to also seek forgiveness from those we’ve hurt – unintentionally or otherwise – and to let go, to accept and to move on knowing no-one is to blame – sometimes it isn’t personal or intentional and sometimes it says more about the other person than ourselves. We are all imperfect human beings who each play a part in things in this game we call life. Without forgiveness, and when people are treated as less than human or as somehow different from us, there can be no love in the world and we all go on the merry go round of anger, mistrust and negativity and the cycle continues.
With that in mind, I wish you peace in the lead up to Christmas, especially if you’ve been as frazzled as me, and I’ll be back with more later this week.