What Do We Do Now?

It kind of feels like Dumbledore died all over again, and Voldemort has risen.

Sadness, fear, and uncertainty are pervasive, and one question lingers, “what do we do now?” The answer is we do exactly what Harry, Ron, and Hermione did-we hunt horocruxes.

The Republican version of a horocrux isn’t quite as hard to find as those in the JK Rowling series. The life blood of a red states is hatred, division, and lies (mostly lies told to kind, trusting Americans to convince them to support Voldemort). We destroy these with truth, love, and acceptance. Defeat the bad with good.

The trickier part of the hunt comes when faced with actual threats of racial bias, intimidation against those of different sexual orientations, misogyny, religious persecution, and a populace educated with an overkill of mis-information.

“If you see something, say something” takes on an additional meaning going forward. It requires each of us stand up for marginalized citizens being persecuted. Not getting involved is the equivalent of condoning bad behavior.

Remember that the final horocrux presents the biggest challenge. To eradicate bias in another person requires each of us to acknowledge our own bias. None of us is perfect. Everyone has a valid perspective. We can learn a lot from others, especially when their words are not the ones we want to hear.

Take a walk in the other person’s shoes. Send you love before you. Be respectful of all.

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The Season of Giving

Christmas shopping is done. Gifts are wrapped. Now we wait, with anticipation, for the unwrapping. I start shopping early (August) because I take time and carefully consider each person on my list. The kids are easy so I usually save them for last, but because it is important for me to get everyone something they will really appreciate, I find the entire holiday shopping experience a bit stressful.

“It’s the thought that counts,” right? But that is exactly my point. I want my gift to demonstrate the level of thought.

The Santa side of Christmas thrives on the multitude of options available to elicit the trademark joyous expressions on the faces of small children Christmas morning. An oversized stuffed animal, legos, a life like doll, or in the case of my nephew this year-those roller skate sneakers. I opted not for the plain gray generic pair, but instead went with Heely’s designed like a red race car. They even have headlights that light up. It doesn’t matter that he is five and those shoes cost more than any pair I’ve ever bought for myself, or that he will outgrow them in 6 months. I know on Christmas morning when he opens that box that I will have given him the greatest present EVER, at least until he opens the next one…

“Tis better to give than to receive” is easy to believe in when the kids are so happy.

Recreating the same joy and excitement for adults is nearly impossible. With my mom, I knew if she cried, that was a good thing. Even though I would have preferred a smile, tears were her genuine form of emotional expression. Dad, always quiet and serene, still reveals his truest opinion about a gift by his actions. The longer he hangs onto it without setting it aside, the closer I’ve come to success. My brother always has a snarky comment for each gift he opens (except the ones from his wife), but never achieving the same awestruck reaction from grown ups as I do with kids is disappointing for me-especially because I’ve put in four times the effort to find the adults something they might appreciate. Should I give up my quest and get gift cards for everyone?

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” The Harry Potter series shares a lot of universal truths.

I don’t want to gift like a hack. Bah humbug to the safe/generic present. This year, like every year I remind myself that the non-Santa side of this holiday is about the birth of Jesus. We share gifts in recognition for the gift we (Christians) were given by the birth of God’s son, and since nothing I can buy in a store is going to top the gift of life, my gift giving should simply strive to reflect the love I feel for those receiving (even if they aren’t jumping up and down with joy).

True expressions of love in whatever form are the only gifts that really matter. Merry Christmas to all.