From the Editor

By Suzanne Brach

The holiday season is a time that typically means happy gatherings with family and friends, a time to be thankful for our blessings. But this year feels different. I find myself working to restore my equilibrium while I seek a positive path forward. It bothers me that our country is fragmented and conflicted and that we express those feelings with hateful language and sometimes violence. It’s not who I thought we were and not who I aspire to be.

But even in my angst, I realize that this is also a time of opportunity—to come together and heal, to be an example for others on how we, as neighbors in a community, can help mend fractures within the country. In the spirit of helping and healing, here are a few ideas on what we can all do to build positive spirit, create esprit de corps and collectively recover from a draining year:

Practice gratitude. Wake up every day and express gratefulness for small things. Be thankful that you live in a diverse community, rich in history and one that is dynamic and growing. We have a solid foundation of support on which to build an even stronger community. I am grateful for my home, friends, family and neighbors.

Be neighborly. There are many around you who may be in need, neighbors who are lonely, sick or suffering but who may unwilling to ask for help. Check on the elderly shut-in who lives next door, help someone suffering from cancer or a chronic illness, visit with the single parent who may like some “grown-up” talk…..stop and listen to someone’s story.

Give back. There are so many opportunities to volunteer in High View Park. Right now, our board is seeking a Membership Chair and volunteers for the Budget and Welcoming committees. Or create your own opportunity. If there is a need, work to fill the hole; don’t wait to be asked.

Demonstrate kindness. After a year of mean-spirited rhetoric, many of us may feel battle fatigued, postelection PTSD. Practice kindness, particularly to those who are not, as they need it the most. At the very least, it will make you feel better about yourself. Stop and help the stranger whose car has broken down, forgive the driver who cuts you off, be kind to the service providers who may be short with you. We don’t know what others may be dealing with….let’s give them a pass, assume the best and demonstrate kindness.

Forgive. Forgive those who hold different opinions from your own. Let it go and move on, not because the person deserves it, but because you do. Forgiveness will empower us all to move forward.

There is much work to be done in our community, and it starts with each one of us. Whether you believe America can be great (again); or that together we are stronger, these are not mutually exclusive ideas. Let’s combine them, show America how it’s done. Together, we are stronger, and that’s how we make our neighborhood a great place to live.

Although we cannot fix all problems or reach every citizen, we can influence what happens here. A movement always starts small…and it starts with us. I hope we can come together to make this holiday season special and next year a new beginning.