More thoughts for the season, yours and mine

By Don Rush

There’s less than two weeks until November is over and I (like many of you) still have leaves ready to fall from the trees in need of raking and bagging. That said, November’s are the month I start thinking of others. Normally, I like to believe the universe revolves around me.
Me, me, me, me.
I, I, I, I.
Don, Don, Don, Don. It’s all about me, and that keeps me happy and cheery. Then something happens in the beginning of November. It’s like my little angel on my shoulder wakes up and whispers in my ear. “Hey, Big Boy. It’s time to think of others.”
And, this is the time of year where some among us are not filled with joy and happiness, maybe just the opposite. Sadness and loneliness. Loss and depression. So, it’s incumbent upon us with stardust in our eyes to be on the lookout for those whose eyes are moist with tears. It’s time for compassion, versus passion.
“Compassion is the simplest and most important gift anyone can give, or receive. Especially during the holidays.”
That’s a pretty powerful statement. Simple. Compassion. Try not to complicate it. Try not confusing compassion with passion. Passions have led many to uncompassionate acts. Take a breath and try to understand some of your friends may not be feeling very jolly. Step outside yourself. Be empathetic to their grief. I know, I know, I know — not everyone is capable of empathy, so maybe if you’re not very empathetic, try putting some extra sympathy and compassion in your play book this year.
And, if compassion is a good idea for the season, so is doing something good for no other reason than you can.

Good Deeds For Zach

On Dec. 4, do something nice on Zach Finn’s birthday.

This is the fifth year I have gotten behind Teena and husband Dan Finn, Jr.’s effort to make the world a more betterer place. The couple lost their son Zach to an automobile accident two months after he graduated from Clarkston High School, on Aug. 4, 2012. Grief is a twisty and tricky emotion to navigate. Somewhere along their road, some way and some how they came to a crossroad. They turned outwards to help heal their innards. #Good Deeds for Zach is their rally vehicle to traverse the hills, ruts, bumps and mud during the emotionally-charged and hard, holiday season and Zach’s birthday.
Wrote Teena, “Zachary would be turning 26 this year. As we have done for the past several years, in honor of his birthday, and in his memory, we ask everyone to put a little extra kindness out into the universe that day. Pay it forward, volunteer, donate, help out a friend or stranger, however you choose to go about it, just do it. For Zach. Because he was a selfless, generous, and incredibly kind soul, and we miss him so much.”
So, do some good on December 4 (and beyond).

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Tis’ the season for gratitude, too. I am thankful for the readers and the communications you send my way. A few months ago, Jane and Don E., wrote , “Thank you, Mr. Rush, for keeping smiles on our faces during this rather troubling time. Your weekly column is always educational & humorous, and so very much appreciated . . .”
Last week I received the following e-mail:
Don, I am grateful for life. I was 26-years-old leading a squad of 12 infantry to a suspected enemy booby trapped area in July 1967 in Vietnam close to the Cambodian border. We found a claymore mine and destroyed it and looking for others one found us.
Lt Gaiser and Sgt Snyder were killed and I was badly wounded, down and couldn’t move. I thought that was my last day as I had no cover laying on my weapon and thought we would be overrun.
Only but Devine intervention did I make it out alive. Others were also injured but I was the most serious. It just wasn’t my time yet so I am grateful for life because I know that every day is a bonus.
Barney A., staff sergeant, 25th Infantry division, cue chi Vietnam

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Thank you Barney. For reading, writing and for your sacrifices and service to this country.

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