Dear Ms. Claus, you’re the one I’m writing to this year

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Dear Ms. Claus,

As I’ve read through my letters to Santa over the years, I noticed that your spouse has been very good with things like an Easy-Bake oven or Barbie house. But so far, he is terribly lacking with larger wishes. I’m finally realizing that I’ve most likely been writing to the wrong person — someone who is focused on material presents to quench people’s thirst for the holiday spirit.

Unfortunately, my wishes have apparently fallen on deaf ears with your husband despite the number of times I’ve watched, “Elf,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or prayed to God.

So, Ms. Claus, with you as a matriarch, I’m hoping that you’ll hear my pleas for wishes, not for people individually, but for our communities.

So here goes…

Woman to woman, let’s face it. We are still seeing people experience hate speech, property damage, physical and sexual assault, and lack of justice in spite of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. And regardless of any building security measures, deaths by mass shootings are still on the rise. What do we do? Who or what can help us enter our school, church, or public venue without paralyzing fear?

I first wish for people to acknowledge our connectedness with each other. You know, many claim that the woman is often the one who can drop the ego and “separateness” and embody our interdependence of each other. Knowing that we are all connected as human beings, animals and nature. If one of us is in pain, then we all feel pain in some way. If one of us is harmed, we all feel that harm somehow. Understanding that link to each other, how could anyone then harass, assault, or kill another, knowing that they’re harming someone who is connected to them at a very deep level?

I wish for compassion — for every person to treat each other with kindness. If we all could tap into our empathy before lashing out or reacting in judgment, can you imagine what it would look like in line at the grocery store, the copier, or the highway? What our homes would feel like if we actually listened to each other at the dinner table, rather than just trying to prove our own points or eating in silence watching TV?

I wish for people to feel comfortable with difference — with their neighbors who might look or behave differently than them. And that those differences wouldn’t stop them from waving hello on the way to work or the mailbox. Believing in the good of others rather than fearing each other. Maybe if we all remembered the basics of how to play well together on the playground. Or actually practiced the values in our faiths: to love and care for our neighbors.

So, Ms. Claus, are we ready for these wishes? May we all live year-round, not just during the holidays, with more connection, compassion, and kindness.

Linda Newell, of Littleton, has termed out as the state senator of Senate District 26 and is now educating people on how to understand and influence their government and managing conflict civilly. She may be reached at Senlindanewell@gmail.com, www.lindanewell.org, www.senlindanewell.com, @sennewell on Twitter, Senator Linda Newell or @TheLastBill on Facebook.

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