I am happy to report that I have arrived. Not at the pinnacle of anything earth-shattering but at that place my grandmother promised. Whenever she’d get emotional over sweet cards from her sister, or a visit from her best friend, we’d ask why and she’d simply say, “just keep living.” She said as you get older, sentimentality takes over and there’s nothing much you can do about it.
Growing up there was a minister who would visit our church and whenever he did, he’d preach. We hated it because he’d preach a while and cry a while—mostly crying about God’s goodness and how happy he was to be alive. I think I’m almost there.
I’ve cried at mushy movie endings, the sound of happy children’s laughter, stuff like that, but I just finished watching CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, and this two-hour program took almost four because the stories kept making me cry. I expected to be inspired but the images and testimonies were wonderful and powerful.
There was a story about 8-year-old Cavanaugh Bell who started helping his grandmother with her groceries during the pandemic. His work soon spread to providing care packages for other senior citizens and eventually evolved into a food pantry movement.
Another featured a former inmate who joined hands to restore voting rights for prisoners in Florida. They raised money to help pay remaining fines so many prisoners were able to vote in 2020 for the first time. This feature was coupled with a story about the importance of voting from actor Jeffrey Wright who accompanied his son, a first-time voter, to the polls. He said his son exited the polling place to applause.
Yep, I kept living and now I understand why these stories make the difference. Somewhere in that four hours I heard “Together we can do so much more than we can do by ourselves.” We know that but sometimes we need to be gently reminded.
Right in our neighborhood, in the school across town, in the town next door, there are hungry people—one statistic cited in this program said 13 percent of the population in nearby Kentucky and 11 percent in California. My friends, we can do something about that. We must ensure that when school is out, those children who depend on school breakfasts and lunches don’t go hungry. Whether it’s sending home a two-week backpack to cover the holidays, we must see the need and fill it.
My great grandmother took great joy in telling us about the apple, orange, and few pieces of hard candy she and her siblings received for Christmas. This holiday season many parents are in a similar place because they face eviction, despair, and a million other scenarios because of their physical, mental, or economic situations.
One of the segments in Sunday’s program showed a woman who put out a call for people who had a need and for people who could help—400 people with a need replied but 500 said they could help. Neighbors, strangers, and friends reaching out—this holiday season we’re all in a strange place but that doesn’t mean we have to be strangers.
As we remember the reason for this blessed season, let’s do what matters, what’s important, and what makes a difference. Being a hero doesn’t cost much—a little time, love, compassion, and intentional effort—but the good feeling lasts all year. Being a hero/shero beats getting another ugly sweater or a fifth bath/shower/lotion set. It may even make you a little teary-eyed.
Do you plan to be a hero this holiday season and make a difference in someone’s life? Share with me your thoughts at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.