To the editor:
One of the highlights of my holiday season is the annual Old West Lawrence Potluck and Caroling Party at Susan and Brad Tate's. It's unrivaled in quality cuisine, Christmas cheer and holiday high jinks. But the sweetest part is the feeling of belonging, of being a contributing and valued part of the family neighborhood. We know each other's names and vitals, greet each other daily, and watch out for each other. We know each other's kids' names and the kids know us. We support and celebrate each other.
Recently, I had the good fortune to be part of another caroling party, an impromptu group consisting of Lawrence Community Shelter volunteers and guests, along with three outstanding young people from my neighborhood. Complete with sleigh bells and wearing antlers with jingle bells ringing, we went caroling in the LCS neighborhood. Initial reluctance and insecurity turned to enthusiasm as we rang doorbells and sang songs of good cheer.
Circling back to go to nearby law offices, we stopped to sing in the shelter itself. The carolers' enthusiasm was picked up by the guests, and many who previously said they couldn't sing joined in. That sweet feeling of belonging I'd had at the OWL caroling warmed into my heart again. The sense of family, belonging, celebrating together and reaching out to one's neighbors with friendship and cheer; it was there again.
There's no doubt in my mind that the one for whose birthday we were singing embraced this little group and its attempt to bring good will and peace to a small part of this troubled world.