One of my favourite all time movies is ‘Love Actually.’ A series of intertwining stories about love – how people seek it, what people don’t see even if they are right at their feet, the love found after someone dies, love at work, affairs, families, looking overseas for love, love between different classes of people, love between different races, gay love, love between step-father/step-son, young love, friendships and lasting love. It really has it all… and it’s a movie that’s centred around Christmas time, when some families are bickering, some families feel the heat and some families just need each other. But it’s also a movie that shows that family doesn’t necessarily have to be blood, as many people are not physically close to their blood relations to enjoy this time of year.
Over the last few days, I’ve noticed the variety of love within families at this time of year. Some unexpected people come up to the plate to make an effort for their children/cousins to be together, even if the parents are fighting or not talking. Some people unite to give to charities through their work, that in itself, creates a bond within the work environment. Some people give close to home, when they realise a family member is struggling and need a helping hand at this time of year. I’ve seen friends who move closer to family to have their love and support, realise that when they are there, they get nothing of what they expected. Some family members do absolutely nothing to help those in need when they are in a perfectly good place to help either financially or give of their time.
But there is also perception… some people think that others are not helping, donating or participating in a ‘communal’ event, when in fact, behind the scenes, they are doing more than you would ever know. I’ve heard people donating large sums of money to Christmas charities when the rest of their work colleagues are donating a $20 present under the tree. I’ve heard of people donating large sums of money to family members who are struggling, but when the family get together, the family bicker about how that person makes no effort at all. I’ve seen people put in huge amounts of time and effort into their parents while their health is deteriorating, but the parents can only talk badly of their devoted son/daughter. It’s just so sad, that people are judging without knowing the reality of the love and compassion behind the person they perceive so wrongly.
I’ve had a glimmer of hope over the last few days, that there might just be some good in the world between estranged families… that people get together for the Spirit of Christmas for the sake of the children and the sake of forgiveness. I’ve always had a concern that some people only make the effort when there’s a special occasion, when they should be making an effort for no reason at all, except for when they see that there is a dire need for help, love or compassion.
I do believe that those who give from the heart are the ones who have seen or experienced extreme levels of hardship in their time. It’s those people who touch the lives of others, as they too have been touched by the stories from people going through hardship that are so familiar to them from their own lives. There are many people who believe in karma… what goes around comes around… so this Christmas, no matter how difficult it may be, find the time, find a few dollars, forsake something for yourself and give to someone who needs it more than you or your children. As touching someone else’s life unexpectedly, is so much more rewarding and is such a better Christmas present to yourself, than having some materialistic gift that gets short term pleasure.
Give where it’s needed most…