By Bob Houghtaling
Winter’s chill is upon us, which for many people around here means that the Holidays are near. While the hustle and bustle of the time can be frustrating, let’s not lose sight of what these seasonal celebrations are intended for.
It goes without saying that our world can occasionally seem scary and complicated. All too often, during moments of fear, people shy away from reaching out and resort to isolation, accompanied by tribalistic attitudes, promoting us vs. them dynamics. When this occurs, it is imperative to recall the wisdom of the ages that asks that we remember how important compassion, love and understanding are. Even though this sounds so simple, reminding ourselves of these long held precepts, from time-to-time, is essential.
I am wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season. Hopefully, we each can find a moment to reflect on our gifts as well as gain additional insight into our place in this amazing, yet crazy, universe. Every individual’s uniqueness must be extolled. The uniqueness of neighbors must be equally considered. We are all in this together, alone. Man is a social and spiritual creature. Relating to others is part of the human experience. Everyone can benefit from the introspection that this time of year offers.
Holidays can teach us much. Love rises above politics. Fairness is its own power. Justice presides in the heavens–and mercy is our way of forgiving along with helping others. Adults bestow kindness towards their children and each child endures endless anticipation awaiting the season’s magical moments. All of these are guided by something larger than any of us. Everyone knows that at our core, someone’s worth is more than cents in a dollar, it also includes a sense of decency. We get bogged down in believing that our driving the bus is apparent when, all along, the fare for the ride has been paid beyond human control. Sometimes, humbly accepting the journey is in order.
So, revel in these times. Sing, dine and gather together. East Greenwich is a beautiful town, one shared by thousands of wonderful human beings. There might be disagreements on occasion but, upon reflection, most know that the Town’s strength comes from ongoing friendships and cooperation. We cannot forget this. Perhaps the following poem might be a simple reminder.
Evening stars dance in the dark
Celebrating this extra time
Holidays are here again
Bringing moments so sublime
Friends all gather for worship
Families celebrate in their homes
Taking care for reflection
That we are not alone
Let’s sing hymns to the world
Ask for love and grace
All the while remembering
Upon everyone’s special place
Gaze into the heavens
Join each hand-in-hand
Feel the spirit of the days
Love your fellow man
Enjoy this special time of year. Wherever you are, whatever you believe, it is important to be connected. Bridges are better than walls. The world is better because you are here. Make it better still. Hope to see you soon.
Bob Houghtaling is the East Greenwich substance abuse counselor. He is also head of the Academy Foundation and is on the board of East Greenwich News.