December 2015: You are making a difference!

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,’ faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The deals of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!” — A Christmas Carol

Last week, I attended a neighborhood holiday party, at which I was asked about FSM. I explained and answered questions. When I finished, one fellow leaned toward me and softly said, “I envy you. You get to make a difference.” Then, more boldly, he held his hands out as if to embrace everyone in the room and said, “It’s a real difference that we all can see and feel.”

That hit me.

While there are a remarkable few who have the skill to help others, often entire families, through life’s most challenging moments, the rest of us play an essential role. All of us who support the therapy work – donors, grantors, insurers, sponsors, volunteers and office staff like me – are a vital part of the process that brings healing to so many in our community.

In this season of goodwill, we hear more than we usually do about charity, about caring for others, and about love. It strikes me, as I consider what FSM is all about, that we are daily going about the “business” Jacob Marley’s ghost described. The spirit of this season guides the work of FSM throughout the year, and you and I are lucky enough to have a part in it.

This year, there are more than a few examples of humanity failing to live up to the season’s most cherished hopes. Some of these troubles seem to defy solution, and they threaten to dampen our spirit.

All the great spiritual traditions, however, and the field of positive psychology are emphatic on this point: The best way to cleanse ourselves of bitterness, anger, and jealousy is to do unto others in a positive way. We defeat negative emotions with the positive emotions born of positive actions. We defeat darkness with light. In the face of discouraging news, I encourage you to feel uplifted by the knowledge that your support of FSM is, every day, moving our world in a better direction.

You are making a difference – “a real difference that we all can see and feel.”

You are bringing genuine healing and well-being to children, adults and families who need it most. You are building stronger families and safer communities. You are, in a meaningful way, creating a better future for all of us. You have every right to feel good about that, but go beyond the momentary pleasure of a pat on the back. Let your “charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence” soak deeply into your view of who you are, and let that self-image empower you in the months ahead.

Jacob Marley’s friend, Scrooge, finally discovered the joy of good deeds and his spirit was reborn. He came alive because of his benevolent emotions, because he was tapping into the whole neurology, endocrinology, and immunology of generosity.

We can too, and make it most merry of holiday seasons!

“I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath…. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”