I have thought a lot about the events of this past year. About the pandemic, the economy, the people who are suffering, and the changes we’ve all been through: sheltering in place, some of us working from home, others on the front lines, the protests and their message, and, of course, the Presidential election and political sideshow that took place during all this. I have reflected on how, although my wife and I have lived through many difficult times and events in our lives (including a recession and 9/11, just to name a couple), this year has been unlike any other for all of us.
As we enter this most unusual holiday season, we’re all dealing with a change of tradition. Many of the holiday gatherings that we treasure most will not take place this year because of the virus. Our initial thoughts are of disappointment and despair. Not being able to see loved ones creates an extra pull on our heartstrings. It’s difficult, no doubt, but what I cannot forget, especially this year in particular, is how important it is that we remember that others are hurting far more, and in need now more than ever. We, of course, have our families, we can adapt, improvise, and try new ideas to stimulate a different kind of excitement during this season. But I can’t express enough that regardless of what we’ve done in the past, we need to remember those other families that are not fortunate in this same way during this time. If we can all commit to doing just one act of kindness for a family in need, multiplied over and over by how many there are of us, I think it would make a huge difference. Most of you already do, and I’m not discounting your past efforts by any means. It’s just that this year there are even more families hurting and I’m afraid our current resources will be overwhelmed, and some child will be left out. Whether their need is food, shelter, or toys under the tree, if we each donate or contribute something, we can help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Our magazine exists for families, and so we just want to make sure every family can finish this year that has brought so many challenges upon us, in a way that can be happy, fruitful, and provides hope for the future.
When I told my oldest son I was thinking about this, he sent me a link to Joaquin Phoenix’s 2020 Oscar speech for Joker. I hadn’t heard it before, but I must say it captures this year so eloquently, far better than I could. Please enjoy the following excerpt from his speech…
“The greatest gift is the opportunity to use your voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking a lot about the distressing issues that we’re facing collectively, and I think at times we feel, or we’re made to feel, that we champion different causes. But, for me I see commonality. I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality, or racism, or LGBTQ rights, or indigenous rights, or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, or one species has the right to dominate, control, use and exploit another with impunity. I think that we become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of, is an egocentric worldview. The belief that we’re the center of the universe….” “…we fear the idea of personal change because we think we have to sacrifice something, to give something up. But human beings at our best are so inventive, creative, and ingenious. And I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment. I think we are at our best when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes. When we help each other to grow, when we educate each other and guide each other towards redemption—that is the best of humanity. When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.’ Thank you.” (from Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar Speech for Best Actor in Joker, February 9th, 2020)
May we all run to someone’s rescue this holiday season, and may peace, joy, and good health follow us. Here’s wishing everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa. May the New Year bring you good health, good fortune, and much love.
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