A breakneck speed and an overcrowded schedule can be hallmarks of this time of year. We can be full of good things like gathering with family and friends, holiday celebrations, special services, concerts, trips to see the lights of NYC, or special exhibits. On top of that we are also card writing, buying, planning, and cooking.

For some, the mood of celebration is a mismatch for their life circumstances or struggles: illness, divorce, depression, recent loss of a loved one, can all draw sharp contrast to what one is supposed to be experiencing at this time of year. But I believe that no matter where we find ourselves, in joy or sorrows, there can be another invitation of this season. For those who are open to doing things a little differently, we could take a daily “holy pause”. We could choose to step off the merry-go-round and detour on the marathon just long enough to take a personal “time-out”. We require this of our children, when they go beyond their capacity to cope. Our play therapist, Susan Gestal, invites parents to a “time-in”. This means, while our children have to give up doing other things, they would still get our calm, loving presence in the midst of their emotional distress. We help get them back to a calmer state. That sounds enlightened to me, and matches more what I want when I am feeling out of control, sad, upset, confused…Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to offer a loving, supportive presence as we gather our emotions, thoughts, and reactions?

It may be surprising to hear, but each of us, regardless of our age, has that opportunity for connection right now. There is a loving Presence each of us can draw on who is there for us and will not abandon or forsake us. God is the good shepherd; therefore we can fear no evil for we believe God is with us, even as we go through our own valleys of the shadow of death. Time-in…take holy pauses, moments to breathe deeply, to gain perspective on your situation, to ground you. Even if you have not drawn on this resource much in the past, the invitation is there to time-in in the midst of this season’s merry-go-round. The outcome may surprise you.

As we celebrate the end of 2014, I want to say a special “thank you” to those who have made it all possible: our team of excellent skilled therapists, our gracious office manager, and the dedicated board members, both past and present, who have been stewards of the vision. However, none of this would have been possible without the generous foundational support of our donors, individuals, foundations, and houses of worship, that have built the foundation upon which we stand and continue to help sustain the mission. Thank you to all of you who have made this possible. If you have not given to the Center, but desire to do so, please follow this link┬áto our “Donate” page.

We appreciate your partnership and belief in us.