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By Rick Presbrey

Sitting at my desk on a cold rainy day one day after Christmas, I had a holiday hangover. Not from drinking—I didn’t—but from the non-stop business of the season.

It seemed like one thing after the other: shopping, wrapping, parties, cleaning the house, putting up and maintaining decorations inside and out, visitors, movies on tv and in the theater, noise and confusion. Now I have a headache. Perhaps the worst of it was the movie “The Wolf of Wall Street,” which was a movie so unpleasant and so close to a part of real life that I never see, and don’t want to see, that I for sure didn’t need to see it, especially at holiday time.

The movie is about life in a crass and crude “bubble” within which the people in the bubble believe that their lives are how things are. We deal with lots of such bubbles: far left Democrats and far right Republicans believe that their life experience and life views are the only way things should be or are; evangelical Christians sometimes experience themselves in a bubble with the rest of society outside of that bubble.

Think of Congress not willing to strengthen gun control legislation for fear of not being re-elected—in a bubble—or am I in a bubble for thinking differently?

How about the world of being nice to one another? We live in an increasingly angry and mistrustful society (is that real or just my perception?) while my bubble at HAC is to be as nice and helpful to everyone as possible. How about when the President apologizes now and then? I think it is great (my bubble?) but news pundits speak of why having the President apologize for anything is a bad idea and will weaken America (their bubble).

I like the bubble that HAC is in and I want to never leave it. Last week, HAC staffers were in the process of helping three people who had recently gotten out of jail. We worked on a variety of issues with each and the general atmosphere at HAC was sympathy and a desire to help. My son was home from college (another bubble, perhaps) and he overheard me worrying about the three ex-cons and getting situated in time for Christmas. As I was leaving the house I overheard part of what he said to his mother which was something like, “Have we gone crazy here? Why are we worrying about helping all these criminals getting out of jail?” There was a time I might have said or thought the same thing, but not now.

I now know that everybody has a story and a reason. I also know that being respectful and caring helps people who are struggling succeed. It is never a question if they deserve it or not. The question is, will we all benefit from caring and respectful behavior towards others? I believe that we will and we do.

Christmas is the time our society practices these values. At HAC we do it every day.