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Mary E. Vandenack: Loving Kindness

A Gift To Consider For The Holiday Season

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In considering my topic for this month, I started thinking about the holidays. Specifically, I started to consider what types of non-material gifts I would like to see given this year.

I began "noticing" interactions or actions on my path each day. As a result, my list has evolved and grown rather rapidly. The start of my list looks something like this:

  • I ask for kindness toward the store clerk who has no control over what the store keeps in inventory. (I was at Starbucks on an unusually crowded day and observed a lady go off on the barista because they had run out of a certain type of syrup.)
  • It would be interesting to see a longer time between lights turning green and people honking.
  • It would be beautiful to see those who have been drinking to refrain from getting behind the wheel of a car. (I am writing this shortly after listening to the news about more fatalities from drunk driving.)
  • My list includes the thought that perhaps there could be less texting and talking while driving and a realization that it isn't just the other guy who gets distracted by the activity.
  • I'd like to see fast food restaurants offer fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as healthy options. I do note that Omaha has recently developed a few options, for which I am grateful. Blue Planet at 63rd and Center doesn't have a drive through but does offer curb-side pick up if you call ahead or order online. Greenbelly at 123rd and West Center offers New York style "build your own" salads. Both restaurants have owners who are committed to serving good food healthfully. (If you know of other options, please e-mail me at info@spiritofomaha.com.)
  • I would love to see an election where those running for political office focus on the issues while abandoning emotional rhetoric and personal attacks on opponents. As I write this, we are just through our fall 2010 elections. One day prior to the election, I received an email that started with big bold red letters that read: "Other candidate is a liar." The candidate from whom I received the e-mail lost all credibility with me. An attack on someone else is an attack on everyone that supports that person and has a negative chain reaction.
  • What if there were more families adopting families than there were families to adopt?
  • What if every child went to bed feeling loved this holiday season?
  • I wish that all my friends would feel loved and supported.
  • I wish that all who serve in the armed forces would feel supported, even by those who don't agree with all the actions our country is engaged in.
  • I made a list of everyone I know who will be going through the holidays for the first time after the loss of a loved one. I plan to be in touch.
  • I hope that all who celebrate the holidays differently from us, or choose not to celebrate them at all, shall feel free to pursue their choice.
  • While we are busy shopping and running on adrenalin, it is easy to look past those in wheelchairs or on crutches. I'm hoping people will look behind them as they go through doors and slow down and help upon occasion.
  • I would like to re-connect with old friends.

As I reviewed my list, I noted a very simple theme running it - the theme of loving kindness and compassion. This year, my wish for the holiday season is that my home city be a place that could achieve worldwide attention for the loving kindness practiced here.

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