It is raining on this Christmas Eve morning in Nova Scotia. I understand in Hawaii, it is snowing. Our ever changing world is once again throwing us a curve ball. It seems that just when we (meaning mankind) think we are smart enough to figure things out, nature dishes out something that once again throws us for a loop and knocks us off the pedestals we seem to enjoy placing ourselves upon. Such is the way of the world.
I really don't mind not 'knowing' everything.
Don't get me wrong. I think education is important and I love learning about so many things that this amazing planet has to offer. But as I get older, I have learned to appreciate the simpler times of my younger life. Naturally, the older I get, the more different they are. Things change every day. The world gets smaller through technology and sharing information is just about instantaneous. To me, that has both positive and negative consequences.
Sharing information quickly can be wonderful. You all wouldn't be reading this post if that weren't the case. If this were thirty years ago, every post I write would need to be written, typed up, mailed to a publisher, approved and then slated for print. The process could take weeks or even months. And only a select few would have their voices heard.
But with social media and technology, things are quite different. We have the ability to think our thoughts, type them into our home computers or phones or other devices and instantly they are 'out here' for all the world to see. How amazing is that? It certainly offers every single one of us to have our voices heard by potentially millions. I look at it as quite a priveledge.
But with privileged comes responsibility. And unfortunately, some people fail to realize that step. They think, write and post without considering the consequences of their words or how they can hurt others. They fail to remember that unlike spoken words, written words are etched into cyber space for all eternity. Once something is 'said', it is very difficult – if not impossible – to erase. And that means that those aforementioned consequences will be everlasting as well. I think people sometimes forget that.
I am thinking along these lines today because with Christmas Eve upon us, I have seen some somewhat shocking and harsh posts online in the past several weeks. I suppose it isn't anything out of the ordinary, but I do realize that more and more our world of instant communication is our dearest friend as well as our worst enemy at the same time. I find it to be a double edged sword and depending how we utilize it, it can make our life wonderful and magical, or bring us into despair. It is up to us.
For myself, I like to think that I use this forum as a place to not only learn and enrich my life, but also share my joy, learning and creativity with others. I don't discuss politics, religion, or things of that nature in "public" and I try my best to respect every person that I come into contact with. I see things that upset and anger me and I read people's thoughts and opinions that I don't agree with, but in the end, I realize that each one of them has a right to their own beliefs and opinions and it isn't my place in this world to tell them they are right or wrong. It doesn't mean that I don't have strong opinions of what I believe in. It only means that I feel that there is a time and a place for making these opinions known, and on a public forum is not one of them in my eyes.
One thing that I notice on Facebook a lot is that many people post something that demands that one say "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays". I read these posts with curiosity as to why this should be such an issue. Surely they realize that in our world there are many different religious followings, and also many that don't follow any religion at all. While I understand why they themselves may want to only wish other Christians a Merry Christmas, what harm would it be to wish their non-Christian friends a Happy Holiday? Why the big deal?
I have customers and friends from many different denominations. When I meet someone new, I don't ask what religion they are. I don't think that what faith they follow is an important criteria as far as if I will socialize or be friends with a person. Certainly it is not in regards to an acquaintance or customer.
One of the main reasons America was founded was because people were searching for religious freedom. They wanted to be able to look to whichever religion they chose without being stereotyped or persecuted. I find it odd that many Americans are the ones that post this demanding statement, and I think that somewhere along the line, something got lost.
What comes to mind is a quote from satirical author Cleveland Amory.
Mr. Amory wrote one of my all time favorite stores called "The Cat Who Came for Christmas". It was the story about how he adopted a white rescue cat he eventually named (spoiler alert!) Polar Bear and their amazing friendship which followed. It is funny, clever and heart-wrenching all in one read. Since I love cats and I also love polar bears, it is right up my alley. Most important, it is about kindness and compassion and caring for those who cannot care for themselves. It shows us how the world CAN be better if each of us offers even a small, seemingly insignificant act of kindness toward each other. What may be insignificant to you, can be a world of difference to another.
Yesterday I came across a post on Facebook that is credited to a page called "Peace Flash". It is called "My Grown Up Christmas List" and it reads as follows:
I immediately copied it on my own timeline, but I also wanted to share it here. I also wanted to add two things to it -
-I wish that everyone would have tolerance for each other.
-I wish that we all had compassion and empathy for each other.
It starts within ourselves. In our instant world of instant communication, I believe that by taking a moment to think of the consequences of what we are saying and how we act, we may help make our world a little softer and a little kinder and our day a bit better. And don't we all need that?
I want to wish my Christian friends a very Merry Christmas. I also want to wish my non-Christian friends a wonderful Happy Holidays. I wish you ALL a wonderful happy and healthy new year filled with love, joy and creativity.
May there be peace on Earth and may we all show our good will toward ALL mankind.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"