Serving others during the holidays: Nothing is more important

by Bruce Hartley
Life Issues Columnist

According to President Barack Obama, “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” 

I hope you are as inspired as I am by Obama’s leadership and his challenge for us to “fill our world with hope.” As we approach the holidays, I am issuing a challenge to those who are more fortunate to serve others who are less fortunate during the November-December holidays. We need to pay extra attention to our LGBTQ family who may not have a place to go for holidays. We must take care of our family; especially the younger people that need emotional support due not having it from their birth family. 

According to Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” From personal experience, I know that when I serve others, it is easier not to focus on the negative things around me that I see, read or hear via mass media. From television to radio to the internet, we are bombarded with negative messages that can discourage even the most positive person.

Recently, a student member from our campus GSA/PRIDE mentioned on social media that she woke up too late on Sunday to obtain food on campus. As a faculty adviser, my heart broke for her, but before I could respond, our GSA/PRIDE members took action and immediately made a plan to help her. 

This is a good example of what I think we all should do in our LGBTQ communities. Paying attention to the needs of others allows us to serve them as needed. 

According to, “Multiple studies have shown that LGBTQ+ individuals have higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse due to negative experiences around coming out, verbal harassment, physical harassment and isolation. 

“During the holidays, emotional challenges can be magnified, especially when anticipating family gatherings. Even when family and friends are accepting, past emotional history, trauma, and the need to lessen or hide your true self can be persistent.” 

I hope that you will watch for ways to help and serve others every day and especially during the holiday season. Mother Teresa is known for her service to others and I’ll close by sharing a few of her words…

“The simple path: silence is prayer, prayer is faith, faith is love, love is service, the fruit of service is peace.” 

Copyright The Gayly - 11/19/2016 @ 7:53 a.m. CDT.