It's that time of year again, where many of those who can afford it go out and buy a truckload of stuff that they or the recipients don't need, while those who can't afford it become more acutely aware of that fact. Blessed by social networks, people come together to celebrate, though sometimes this is accompanied by intense planning because folk want things to be 'just right'. This of course means that things are more likely go anything other than 'just right'. This is called cosmic irony (where you achieve the opposite of what you intended) and is the essence of a modern Christmas for those who celebrate it. Aah, Christmas. Aaaaaaaaarggghhhh, Christmas!
Spare a thought then, for the many people who don't have such social networks. One of the most disabling conditions in our society is that of loneliness and isolation. People living with disability are more likely to experience this than many, because of an often life-long experience of separation and marginalisation, within a society that over the past thousand years has forgotten that people living with disability have a natural and rightful place in community life as active citizens.
Feeling lonely really really sucks. It is important for all of us to have options for company other than our own. After all, having friendships is key to a truly rich life.
So, as I said, spare a thought. In fact, don't just spare a thought, take an action. Extend a welcome to someone in your neighbourhood who is alone (or in a congregated support service) and who may be lonely. Do this not because its Christmas, but because it's what makes communities healthy and happy. We live for eachother. This isn't about charity, or about befriending. It's about genuine, freely given association. You know, neighbourliness and friendship.
And to you who reads this blog and who feels lonely and isolated, I wish you strength and courage and hope, that you may discover actions in your own life that bring you in contact with new people who will discover the joy of knowing you.