Tangled in Tinsel, Wrapped in Support; Lean on Me

Dec 08, 2023



I woke up this morning singing “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers… and I took it as a sign it would be a great message to share.

 “Lean on me

When you’re not strong

And I’ll be your friend

I’ll help you carry on…”

There is anticipation and there are expectations with any holiday.  The typical questions of  “where, when, why, and who” may come up.  There may be even more importance behind the answers.  “Who will sadly annoy me when we are together?”  Let’s instead focus on “how we will celebrate time together?” 

Last year, I remember during our Christmas trip to Pittsburgh, we encountered a homeless gentleman named Chris, who gladly accepted our gift of a warm scarf, a few dollars, and a gratitude stone. 

I wonder if he was able to “lean” on anyone in the year that I last saw him.

The holidays can sometimes bring a mix of emotions – joy, gratitude, but also a pinch of tricky moments. It's during these times that the strength of our connections with others truly shines.  The words are so powerful in this song.


“Please swallow your pride 

If I have things you need to borrow 

For no one can fill 

Those of your needs that you won't let show 

You just call on me brother when you need a hand 

We all need somebody to lean on 

I just might have a problem that you'll understand 

We all need somebody to lean on 

We all need somebody to lean on 

If there is a load you have to bear 

That you can't carry 

I'm right up the road 

I'll share your load 

If you just call me 

Call me” 


Stories of Support: 

 I've been touched by the incredible stories pouring in from our community about moments when someone leaned on a friend or family member during the holidays. It warms my heart to see how small acts of kindness and a listening ear can make all the difference.  I am going to head to Pittsburgh’s Strip District again this Christmas Eve, armed with a few extra items of warm clothing and blankets to give out to whoever needs to do some leaning.  Please be on the look out for any new lessons that I learn and be sure to share what you see and do.   

“Care to BE AWARE, and Dare to MAKE A DIFFERENCE”  

Tips for Holiday Support: 

 Here are a few practical tips for being there for our friends and family during the holiday hustle: 

1. Check-in: A simple "How are you?" can go a long way. Take a moment to connect with your loved ones. 

2. Virtual Gatherings: If physical distance keeps you apart, consider hosting a virtual get-together. Technology can bridge the gap and make the holidays feel a bit cozier.  Send a gift to open on camera in advance.  

3. Acts of Surprise: I saw a group of adult grandchildren surprise their grandparents with a sleepover.  Four grown up kids arrived dressed in pajamas, carrying pizza and sleeping bags ready to spend the night enjoying their parent’s parents.  A surprise care package or a thoughtful gesture can brighten someone's day. It's the little things that count.   

Your Turn: 

 I'd love to hear your stories and tips for navigating the holidays together. Hit reply and share your thoughts, and let's create a space for mutual support and camaraderie this festive season. 

Wishing you all a warm and joyful holiday season! 

Bart  (call me... 301-312-1600)