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December 27th

Family, togetherness and community

The meaning of family

“Family” means so many things. This time of year, it often means “togetherness.” In 2020, that wasn’t always safe. But we’re together in more ways than you might realize. BGE’s Tamla Olivier reflects.

by Tamla Olivier
BGE Senior Vice President of Customer Operations and Chief Customer Officer
Member of Catholic Charities Board of Trustees

I think we can all agree this has been a year of unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts. Our nation has endured a long-lasting pandemic continuing through the last 10 months. Families have been faced with the burden of financial uncertainty, forcing them to determine how they would pay their bills just to have the necessities of food and shelter. We have seen the course of events surrounding social injustice and inequity, leaving our country divided on many issues, such as if we should wear a mask, or simply exercise our right to vote.

This year has been extremely unique to say the least, with practicing social distancing and identifying innovative ways to learn, with students being taught virtually, while businesses have been compelled to quickly change and identify ways to sustain their company, service their customer, and maintain the safety of their employees, or churches inspired to spread the word of God without having physical contact with their congregation within the church.

A lot of first have occurred for many Americans having to make life-altering decisions: the first time applying for unemployment, first time applying for assistance, first time standing in line for food with their 5-year-old in tow, and their first time that not having connectivity would determine whether their child would have access to the basic right of education. All of these circumstances causing physical, mental, spiritual uncertainty and disruption.

Jesus reminded us, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If you then are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:22-26)

Everyone should maintain hope and always remember God remains in control and he has a plan for you and me. God said he would never leave us nor forsake us. He has shown us that even in dark days he will bring light and life. This is evident by families in one household now spending more time with one another, and creatively connecting with long distance family members, friends and loved ones.

The pandemic has brought us together.

We saw acts of kindness and examples of goodness across the country, with people volunteering for those in need through food and clothes drives, or just being emotional support for someone in need. People created innovative ideas to care for their neighbors and communities, by simply checking on the elderly that live alone, or donating time or money to fundraisers to assist others in need. We should all pay homage to the first responders who continue to put their lives on the line to ensure we have food, healthcare, and emergency services. All of these actions demonstrate the goodness of the human spirit, and we can put the care for others first.

Catholic Charities’ Comfort & Joy is another example of creatively reaching out and bringing everyone together to show there is still love within our nation and not to give up. This is the season we all look forward to spending time with our families, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, a lot of families are unable to spend these holidays together under the same roof.
Remember the hope found in God’s promises, take comfort in God’s divine peace, rejoice in God’s presence and learn to love others well.

“Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Thank you for joining our 31 days of Comfort and Joy! I hope everyone has a restful, safe, and blessed holiday with their family!

Tamla Olivier, BGE Senior Vice President for Customer Operations and Chief Customer Care Officer, and Member of Catholic Charities Board of Trustees
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