Social media can seem overwhelming. There are so many sites and there’s so much to keep track of. And that’s in addition to all these “super storms” we have dumping inordinate amounts of snow and rain on a house neglected by previous owners. Given the circumstance, I joined Next Door. I don’t have time to follow it, but each day I get notices of new posts. On Christmas morning one from the previous day caught my eye. A local mother could neither afford to decorate her tree nor buy her teenage sons presents. She turned to Next Door and the comments and offers of help posted shortly thereafter revived my faith in the inherent goodness of people. Holidays bring out the best in us, I believe. We want others to be cared for. It’s just too bad we have trouble enacting it in any political setting.
Next Door is about grassroots connections. We are fairly new to our town. Although it’s distinctly purple, the people are friendly to one another. It saddens me that we’ve allowed the politics of hate to define us for four years. Those unable to see through Trump’s self-serving tenure think it’s been business as usual as one man has torn the country apart to make himself feel good. Out here among hoi polloi, people are reaching out to strangers, offering Christmas ornaments, gifts, and food. I think that must be rain on my face. Why else would my cheeks be damp? Left to their own devices most people would behave well toward others. Fear makes us act in destructive ways. What if we all reached out helping hands when anyone was in need, and accepted handouts without shame when we needed them?
Christmas was rainy around here. Just a week after receiving an early snow dump of over a foot, the rain gauge is overflowing. Caring for our environment, it seems, would be the most obvious way of ensuring the greatest good for the greatest number. I know that sounds utilitarian, but it certainly feels more moral than personal enrichment at the expense of others. Too much water here while the west suffers drought and wildfires. We know our actions contribute to the instability in our atmosphere. No actual scientist denies it. As these twelve days of Christmas play out, I see no sign of compassion from the swamp, yet there is a light shining through the gloom. It’s a sign of human kindness. And it is as close as next door.