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That stranger could really use your love

| December 6, 2020 1:00 AM

The volume has been turned down on the usual joyous sounds of the holiday season. A pandemic will do that.

Still, most of us find ways to tap into the warmth of Christmas, even if it's a little cooler this time around.

Christmas music. Phone calls with family we're not able to visit. Soaking in the sunshine that has been winning its daily struggle against stagnant air. Reaching out and touching a spouse or child.

But the holiday season has always cast a long, dark shadow over the lonely, those who see and hear the celebrations around them but experience none of it themselves. The contrast only makes their loneliness more overwhelming.

Now, mix in a deadly pandemic that forces them even further into their exiles, and the desperate feelings of hopelessness engulf them.

This, dear friends, will not do.

Nobody should ever feel this way, but especially not at Christmas.

So what can you do?

One quick Google search (https://bit.ly/33HCAXO) delivered the names and addresses of almost two dozen nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Kootenai County. There's at least one not far from you.

Many of the people residing there are most affected by a world that's not just turned upside down on them, but shaken over and over again. You might have a neighbor or someone down the street who hasn't been seen since spring. The opportunities to inject a little joy into needy hearts is limited only by your willingness to find the quiet despair around you.

A tin of cookies costs only a few dollars. A flower can brighten the darkest disposition. Some fruit is healthy and refreshing. And of course, everybody can always use a new pair of comfy socks.

Next time you're out shopping, pick up a little something that you can drop off for a stranger who could use a tangible reminder that there is still so much good around them. Write a short note and make the gift anonymous. That way, employees at the nursing home or assisted living facility can ensure that the gifts make their way to those who could use a tender hug most.

That's really the spirit of Christmas, isn't it?