Letter from the Publisher: HOLIDAYS AND HIDDEN ISOLATION

By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

When we think of holidays our thoughts might turn to that famous Norman Rockwell painting of a kind-looking grandma in an apron bringing a gigantic well-roasted turkey to the holiday table.

Whereas, the holiday feast in your household may look quite different. You might all be vegans or vegetarians. You might have a small family where that whole turkey may not be called for. Or, heaven forbid, perhaps none of your family enjoys turkey and you may serve very nontraditional fare.

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But the hidden truth behind every holiday is that there are people right in your midst who may be spending this holiday alone — and in fact, through no fault of their own, they may spend every holiday alone. Consider the widow who lives next door whose family is too far away to visit. Widowers tend to fare better in getting invited to holiday feasts but still, you may have a widower living nearby who would welcome your hospitality.

A regrettable national secret is a life lived in almost continual isolation by more and more people. Our modern-day culture of isolation has contributed to the growing epidemic of suicides — understandably, suicides increase over the holidays.

There are folks for whom the holidays are nothing but the pain of unmet expectations, amid all that “holiday cheer” promoted all around us, mostly to sell products.

So if you’re anticipating celebrating the holidays with family, consider if you can step out of tradition and perhaps your comfort zone and invite a new guest to the table. This could be a student, a neighbor, or a recommended single from your church.

If you “shake the trees” you will likely come up with a good candidate. And if you have small children, you might make inviting an otherwise lonely person to your holiday table, a tradition. When the little ones ask why, you can explain that this gives more meaning to a day of thanksgiving or a day traditionally loaded with gifts and good food.

We owe it to our families to create the best quality of life that we can. But those of us who have been so very fortunate can choose to live life with such kindness that it raises life to a higher plane. At this time of year, kindness is currency of an enriched holiday experience.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Blaine Howerton