Negotiating Reality

Back To Basics

Ways to give and feeling thankful.

Two recent developments push me to get back to basics today. One is the warm glow from friendship and kindness extended to me over the last week or two, with two Thanksgiving invitations from friends, a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, attendance at a fun Hanukkah party and the prospect of more celebrations, including a Christmas concert.

With Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapping this year (it hasn’t happened in 188 years and won’t again for  70,000 more due to quirks in the Gregorian and Jewish calendars) somehow holiday spirit seems multiplied.

It inspires me to want to share this spiritual and material bounty with friends and family more than ever. It also pushes me to share the bounty through volunteering.

There are many ways to do that here in Syracuse and many organizations to participate in. Recently, I have been involved with Visions for Change, an innovative, collaborative approach to eliminating poverty. But there are many more helping organizations. You can find one that speaks to you through directories of not-for profit organizations, such as this one put out by the United Way, or through friends.

The second development pushing me to get back to basics is a cold that is creeping through my sinuses and around my head, leaving me wrapped in a fog, burrowing under blankets and grateful for warmth, bed and liquids. Not very sick but unwilling to move, I lie here fuzzy-headed and strangely happy.

I feel vulnerable (the cold, living far from family in the holiday season) but warmed and cherished (by friends new and old, shared talk and food and even my multiple blankets). So, thank you to all who have welcomed me in this season, in this city and elsewhere. Thank you to the cold for giving me the time and stillness to feel this gratitude and desire to give. And thank you to my readers for reading what I write. May you feel warm, cozy and welcomed during this holiday season. And may we all help others to feel the same. Speak to you again next week.

Nina Housman is a writer/editor and specialist in adult education. Email her at [email protected]

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