New Year’s: New, But Also Old

Photo credits: Tim Mossholder from Unsplash.com

January 1st marks New Year’s Day — a holiday that is celebrated around the world. It is approaching soon, and as we get close to the new year, I would like to take some time to reflect on the previous year, as well as my hopes and goals for the next year — popularly known as New Year’s Resolutions.

Last year around this time, I made new resolutions, one of which was to engage more heavily in community service (in accordance with my beliefs as an Ahmadi Muslim), especially towards the elderly. I then tried to find more opportunities to serve my community — and ended up volunteering in my local hospital to help elderly patients. At the hospital, I worked with patients who came from many different backgrounds and races. I learned a lot, especially about the importance of unity, regardless of cultural/racial differences. For example, I remember one elderly patient who spoke Spanish, and relied on her son to translate and interpret information. I was able to collaborate with her to communicate information about different ways to stay active at home. Despite our differences, we had one common goal- to help the patient heal swiftly and well. Having the opportunity to reach out to others, regardless of racial/cultural differences, during their times of need and pain really resonated with me. It showed me the power of transcending cultural differences rather than clashing on its basis. It also spoke to the importance of community service — being able to help someone, even if it was in a small way, such as providing company to a patient while watching television. This small gesture showed me that a little act of kindness can certainly go a long way for improving someone else’s day.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, service to others is a critical component of my belief. In the Holy Qur’an, it is stated, “You are the best people raised for the good of mankind; you enjoin what is good and forbid evil and believe in God…” (3:111). In addition, it also states, “…And do not forget to do good to one another” (2:238). These quotes both show how important it is to serve our community, and strive to maintain peace through accepting others and promoting diversity.

In light of this year’s pandemic, I feel that the need to serve our community has become even greater, especially when we consistently hear about the sacrifices being made around the world by healthcare professionals — from doctors to clinical technicians. It reminds me of when I first heard about medical schools graduating their students early in order to join other healthcare workers on the frontlines to fight the pandemic, I was surprised and humbled by their dedication to serving others during a tremendously trying time. It strengthens my resolve to continue serving my community even if it is from afar. I know that for next year, among my resolutions, one will expand- helping my community. Happy New Year!