Giving our time, talent and treasure
By Bentley de Bardelaben
As I enter the 2010 holiday season, I admit that I am looking forward to eating turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, watching football and laughing out loud with my loved ones. History has proven that a good time will be had by most, if not all.
Sure reasons will vary, but sadness, depression and anxieties overhang our land. Over the past months, people, some of whom are our neighbors, will have lost their livelihood, their shelter, a family member, close friend or learned of a recent illness to self or loved one.
Believe it or not, even the loss of daylight and sunlight can affect a person’s mood. Human life is wrought with up and downs. None of us can escape its twists and turns, highs and lows. Finding supports and tools to effectively manage these stressors as they occur is essential to our success.
As a person of faith, prayer is important to me. It is something that I practice daily. Yet, when one is feeling “down in the dumps” or experiencing the “blues” prayer may not be enough to move one through the fog Fortunately, mental health programs abound in our communities and are available for little to no cost. Facilities can be found online. One such website managed by the government’s health administration is samhsa.gov.
To be candid, during the course of this year and in the span of a few months, both of my parents had major health scares. The emotional toil that it had on me, while trying to maintain full time employment, caused me great distress. I knew it and my loved ones noticed the strain as well.
Thankfully, I addressed the symptoms by meeting with a therapist to help me process the sensory overload I felt. I did this in addition to my prayer and meditation routine. Within weeks, I felt better and I saw a way out. Additionally, my parents are recuperating nicely and that too has been a relief to my heart and mind.
As we begin to navigate the pressures of the holiday season, let us remember those for whom this time may be especially difficult. If we are able be generous of time, talent and treasure, let us consider sharing them.
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the infirmed and more importantly find a reason to express gratitude. My faith teaches me that in doing these things, I am honoring each of us as a child of God.
Everyone deserves respect, self worth, dignity, grace, forgiveness and love. I have learned that the reward in the giving is greater, than in the receiving. So whatever situation you are currently in, I pray your holidays will be merry, bright and filled with the awareness of God’s unfailing love and light.
Bentley de Bardelaben is an executive for Justice Ministries in the United Church of Christ.