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This is for those who are spending Christmas alone (including myself). In light of all the violence we've seen lately, it's hard to feel compassionate. But it will be even worse if we don't try. And charity starts at home.

2012 has been a year filled with more bad than good. Between health issues and struggling to get and keep a job, I regularly look to my MSNBC shows and DailyKos for shreds of good news. I read DK everyday. Though I haven't posted a diary in 9 months, I depend on this site and its writers to keep me informed--and to give me good news that will lift my spirits when I am down. However, I suspect I'm not the only one who does this. And that is the reason for this diary.

My laptop died 2 weeks ago. I've been temping part-time for almost 3 months and my savings has run out so now I'm applying for unemployment. After buying groceries today, I have about $37 in the bank--and no credit cards. I've never owned a car either. The thing is, I'm sure I'm not the only one here facing tough times. I can't afford to buy anyone presents. But I thought that might be other DK members feeling down & out like I am.

Maybe this won't help. Maybe very few people will see or read this. So here is where I'm going to be selfish: I need to reach and offer compassion and empathy for others who are suffering because it's the only way to save myself.

Like most websites, there are easily way more lurkers than there are active members here.  It's reasonable to assume I'm not the only one who comes here to escape from the harsh realities of real life. I came here looking for a place where I belong, where I hoped to find other people like me. Frankly, I've failed at that way more than I've succeeded.

For those who lurk here and are seeking that same sense of community and belonging, I wanted you to know you're not alone. Reading that may be cold comfort. But I've learned through decades of hardship and surviving adversity that I have to force myself to find compassion and empathy within or I'd just give up on living.

Yes, there's my ego involved here. Of course I want to be seen and heard. Who doesn't post their writing online looking for validation and approval? But I am trying to reach out here to those who may choose to be silent or who may simply not reach out due to anger or fear of rejection.

I definitely don't fit into any cliques either here in the DK community or offline. I'm not a loner by choice. I didn't seek to be different or difficult or terminally unique. I could sit in my bedroom watching reruns of Star Trek and Big Bang Theory and feel angry at the world for my lot in life. I could watch romantic comedies while eating Entenmann's chocolate donuts and feel sorry for being single with no family and very few friends.

Instead, I'm trying to think about others in the same boat or those that have it much worse than me. Up on Sunset Blvd just 6 blocks from my apartment there are half a dozen people sleeping on the sidewalk outside the library. Right now there are children in the Middle East trying to walk home hoping & praying they won't step on any hidden explosives.

I know compared to them my problems appear insignificant. From where they are standing, my life must seem relatively easy--like I live in the lap of luxury. They will never know I'm living in terror that I'll be denied for unemployment a 2nd time and won't be able to pay my rent or buy food next week.

But I must have compassion for both myself and others. I have to nurture every bit of empathy in my heart because I can't afford to be bitter and hateful no matter how bad things get. Even if I lose my apartment and become homeless again, self-pity and rage and hate will only destroy any chance I have to make life better.

If you are a lurker here or another DK member who feels alone and let down by life, know 2 things. 1) You really are not alone. And 2) there are those who share your situation and feel empathy for you. Try to have compassion for yourself. Know that others have compassion for you. Dig as deep within as you can and nurture love and hope.

I know that's probably a pretty cheap Christmas gift. And me writing that here may not do you any good. But showing compassion to other people is not only the right thing to do. It is something that just might save your peace of mind...and maybe it can even save your life.

I hope you have the best Christmas you can. I will try to do the same. God luck and yes, God bless us everyone.

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