In this holiday time we are reminded of the gifts and tragedies of life; the gifts of the people who have blessed our lives by being present or involved and the tragedy of those who left either by choice or not.
Needless to say, emotions can have a “roller coaster” effect.
As a child it was hard for me to understand what my Nana used to preach: “the holiday season is not supposed to be about a person’s wants or needs, it’s about the ability to give.”
Giving a gift to brighten someone’s day can be as simple as offering a shoulder to lean on or an ear for someone to be heard.
This season we have seen our fair share of tragedies beginning with Superstorm Sandy, the Clackamas Town Center shooting and most recently the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
As we sit in sheer terror there are things, now more than ever, we need to recognize and be thankful for, especially all the seemingly minor gifts that make up a day.
For me, it’s the ability to serve my community in a positive manner and help kids who otherwise wouldn’t get opportunities to be involved in local activities. Each person has their own special gift they give whether they know it or not.
Opportunities are around you everyday to be the hero. Heroes don’t necessarily have to be in uniform or wearing a cape.
Opening a door to be kind, donating to a charity that helps rebuild communities or even lending a helping hand are all heroic attributes. To do something for sheer want and not to receive something in return, that’s heroic.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are levels of heroism. But both the greatest of feats and the smallest should be recognized within ones self, and not necessarily by others.
A wise man once answered my question when I asked “How much should I do?” His reply was, “Give what makes you feel good” and that to me is the simplest statement of the holidays.
Give at your own comfort level and don’t compare yourself to your neighbors, but give to those who would otherwise go without.
On a local level there are many different ways to get in the holiday spirit. You can help feed the needy with the multitude of charities offering canned food drives.
This and many other opportunities to give are all worthy causes that can create heroes in small ways that lasts a lifetime for the receivers.
Nic Wiese is the membership director at the Walla Walla YMCA.