The Seasons of Giving
Our house, like many, are drawn into preparations for the upcoming holidays. It is bustling with holiday decorations, cooking and planning. My husband loves to decorate. It is both delightful….and frustrating…. to watch him become a child again. I am truly lucky if the finishing touches are done by Christmas morning and nothing comes down until a week after the New Year. Oh my!
Though I, too, love these preparations, my heart now feels a sense of loss. I miss watching our young children’s anticipation build to pure glee before the holiday arrived. I miss the joy of watching Joe’s mom search incessantly to find just the right gift for each of us. She shopped the entire year. While I can never recapture the joy of our many Christmases as a young family, I hold them tight as memories. Those memories will last a lifetime for me, my husband and our children and in life it is the memories that draw us through our daily being.
As our lives continue to march on, I have become more reflective of the meaning of this season. Truly it is about the giving. Be it my joy in watching our children get so excited or in Joe’s mom’s joy of finding just the right thing, it was about the act of giving and what it brought as feelings for those that received of our giving that stands the test of time.
Giving is what stays with us. While giving gifts is a piece of the puzzle, giving to others by helping them with needs, by supporting their goals, by taking time to listen and to hear, and by simply being there in the same time and space for a while is what is most important.
I see these happen everyday in West Burlington and at our schools. Our students and staff are committed to giving back to those in need by helping families who desperately need help, by raising funds to support community groups and organizations, by making cards to share with those who are ill. Our community continually seeks to support our students in fundraising so they can have amazing experiences. You commit time and resources to coach them, prepare them and watch them on the courts of play and on our stages of performance. You and we exemplify what is good about mankind through our giving.
This has been a very challenging time in our lives both at work and in our homes. These holidays are going to continue to be tough for many of us. I encourage us to simply just be in the same time and space of others and to take the time to listen and to hear them as many of us work through loss of work, of family and even of hope. The giving of these will help us all to continue our journey through this pandemic.
I wish each of you and your families the best of the holidays. May we find joy, peace and hope through our kindness and our actions.