How are you feeling about the approaching holiday season? As we near the end of 2022, our first “Post Pandemic” year, we know that re-entry into society has taken on different forms for different people. For some, it has presented a real challenge.
As we prepare for upcoming holidays, Tysons Interfaith is pleased to offer a series of blog posts authored by members of our faith communities that highlight reflections on self, our place in the world, and suggestions for re-entering society and promoting comity among family and friends.
The interfaith community has observed a noticeable reluctance to rejoin in-person sociality after the isolation of COVID lockdowns. It may be that it’s just easier or feels safer to attend online. For others it may be the challenge of depression or addiction resulting from isolation.
In addition, recovering from COVID isolation during the upcoming holiday season intersects with the long-standing problem of isolation and disappointment felt by many during the holidays.
The phrase “to put yourself out there,” while it may be overused, has an important element of truth: there is risk in trying to develop or maintain a friendship. What if my outreach is not reciprocated?
Nevertheless, people need people. A friendly word, a smile, an unexpected act of kindness, or an interest in others can be life-changing or at least help us through another day. It’s been said that if you are with a group of people and assume that half of the group is facing a life crisis, you’ll be right most of the time. Whichever half we’re on, in-person interactions can be the “Balm of Gilead.”
Call upon your faith in God to help you have the courage to make the effort to resume in-person sociality by trying to focus on lighting up someone else’s life. Try the smile, the compliment, the kind word, an unexpected card or gift. Especially in all-important family relationships, express appreciation, offer help, ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness, or if needed make an apology. Listen. Look for common ground. See the good in others; everyone has a gift and talent.
If we feel alone, volunteer to help others. With thousands of refugees and new immigrants in Northern Virginia, the needs are great. In volunteering you meet the best people in the community. You may wish to visit the Tysons Interfaith website Resources page, which lists volunteer opportunities and area non-profits with whom our faith communities partner. When we lighten the burdens of others, our burdens seem lighter.
Take advantage of your unique opportunity to fill the world with peace and goodwill this holiday season!