There is something about this time of year. Here in the Northeast and in many other parts of America, the green grass is or has already turned a shade of brown, while the hills and forests were set ablaze with the awesome spectacular of autumn. Snow has made its appearance but has not yet blanketed the earth, while the nights have turned bitterly cold. Shorts, for most people, have been neatly folded in a drawer, while jackets and gloves have been hung by the door. We've searched for the ice scraper and once again are thankful for the remote starters in our vehicles. Yes, it's that time of year.
While nature continues its course and life gives way unto death, something else tends to happen this time of year that seems to renew life and hope. While the outdoors becomes frigidly cold and the ground becomes harder, it seems this time of year always softens the hearts of mankind and we become a bit more sensitive to those around us. Things we may have been blind to for most of the other months throughout the year, seem to become painstakingly obvious to us in our daily travels. We notice the homeless individual standing on a corner, shivering and praying for warmth tonight. Many Americans in a couple of weeks will demonstrate this emotion they feel by going to homeless shelters and food pantries nearby to serve Thanksgiving meals. We remember those who are close to us and the family members who will be missing from the table on Thanksgiving Day. We remember the person fighting an illness or disease, knowing this holiday season may very likely be their last. We are reminded of the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, serving abroad and away from family and the comforts of home. It is without a doubt that our hearts become more sensitive to the needs of others around us during this time of year.
I don't have an explanation for why this happens. Maybe it's because while many of us take time to reflect on our blessings in life, we become more in tune with those who may not be as fortunate. Social media will be flooded in the next month with ways and opportunities to give to people and our communities, as well as others around the world. Men and women around the world will hear the ringing of a bell next to a red bucket at store entrances. Our hearts will become softer and some will be broken for others.
I end this with a question. No, maybe more of a challenge. This holiday season, what will you do in the service of a stranger? Will you stop for the homeless person, shivering and alone, on the street corner or in the park? Will you drop an extra dollar into the red bucket? Will you make that phone call to a family member that is long overdue? Will you reach out to the friend, who for the first time in many years, will spend this holiday season alone? Take advantage of this time of year, listen to what your heart is telling you to do, and move on it. For whatever reason this time of year inspires so many to go beyond themselves and reach out to others, be thankful for it and use it to impact someone else.