Dear Ms. Claus, As I read through my past letters to Santa, I noticed that your partner has been very good with things like an Easy-Bake Oven or Barbie house. But so far, he is terribly lacking with …
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Dear Ms. Claus,
As I read through my past letters to Santa, I noticed that your partner has been very good with things like an Easy-Bake Oven or Barbie house. But so far, he is terribly lacking with my larger wishes. Perhaps I’ve been writing to the wrong person — a guy who is yes, jolly, but focused on material presents to quench people’s thirst for the holiday spirit of consumerism.
Unfortunately, my wishes have apparently fallen on deaf ears with your significant other despite the number of times I’ve watched, “Elf,” ”It’s a Wonderful Life,” or prayed to God.
Ms. Claus, with you as a matriarch, I’m hoping that you’ll hear my pleas for wishes, not for people individually, but for our whole community.
Woman to woman, let’s face it. People are still experiencing hate speech, property damage, physical and sexual assault, and lack of justice in spite of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements, etc. And regardless of any building security measures, deaths by mass shootings are still on the rise. What do we do? Who or what can help us enter our school, synagogue, or public venue without feeling paralyzing fear?
1. I first wish for people to acknowledge our connectedness with each other — You know many claim that the woman is often the one who can drop the ego and individualism and recognize our interdependence of each other. Knowing that we are all connected as humans, animals and nature. As physical and social science show, if one of us is in pain, then we all feel pain in some way. If one of us is harmed, we all feel that harm somehow. Understanding that link to each other, how could anyone then harass, assault, or kill another, knowing that they’re harming someone who is connected to them at the deepest level?
2. I wish for compassion — for every person to treat each other with kindness, or at least respect. If we all could tap into our empathy before lashing out or reacting in judgment, can you imagine what that would look like in line at the grocery store, copier or highway? What our homes would feel like if we actually listened to each other at the dinner table, rather than just trying to prove our own points or eating in silence watching TV?
3. I wish for people to feel comfortable with difference — with our neighbors who might look or behave differently than us. And that those differences wouldn’t stop us from waving hello on the way to work or the mailbox. Believing in the good of others rather than fearing each other. Maybe if we all remembered the basics of how to play well together on the playground. Or actually practiced the values in our faiths — to love and care for our neighbors.
So Ms. Claus, are we finally ready for these wishes to be realized? I understand these are people’s choices, but do you have any suggestions? I pray that we each choose to live with more connection, compassion, and kindness year-round (not just during the holidays).
Formerly a Colorado state senator, now a seminary student at Iliff School of Theology, Linda Newell is a writer, speaker, filmmaker and consultant. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell or @TheLastBill on Facebook.
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