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Thursday, April 4, 2013


   When I was younger, talking to older people seemed like a chore to me. I was sort of shy for whatever reason and developing my conversational aspects took a few years of kicking out of my comfort zone. As the years went by I eventually figured out that the majority of the adults within my circle had some relevant life experiences I could feed from. There were, of course, others who I still believe to be complete idiots, but that is not up for discussion right now.
    I realized at some point that my aunts and uncles on my paternal side were no longer hovering somewhere in the realm of fifty years old anymore, but had mysteriously aged about fifteen years. This came out of nowhere, because in my mind, I had the same images and experiences stored away about them that I did as a ten year old child; especially my uncles, who I see more than my last living aunt. They come from, essentially two generations before me, and while some of the things they say border on the territory of insane, I have learned more from them as an adult than I ever thought I would. I will explain.
    We live in a world of self-importance from my perspective. Sometimes, in certain situations, such as those of personal growth and passions, being a little selfish is just fine; but there is a line to be drawn within this stance. As an example of where my uncle's and my own generation differ, the majority of the people I personally know take issue with their neighbors over things that really do not matter. Hating someone for the car they drive, the physical shape they are in, or even because their yard has lush grass while yours is a pile of dirt is extremely petty to me. We seem to hate those we have not met for the sake of jealousy or even our own lunacy, but I have not a clue why we allow ourselves to stress over such a mindset. I am making a point soon, hang on...
    My uncles will often begin a conversation about their pasts by saying something to the effect of “This one time, when I was helping -insert name-...” or “I helped -insert name- do -insert event- one time...”. There is a key word within both of those quotations: “help”. You see, in this world of jealousy, pessimism, and lunatic tendencies we would rather scoff at someone for what they do or do not have than help them when they need something.  Many times, those with stockpiles of money start organizations for the purpose of tax breaks or their appearance to the public when they do not really care about the topic of their cause. Those with less to give in time or money tend to make more of a spectacle of themselves when they do “their part”, and develop quite a chip on their shoulder. My uncles tell me about helping people they knew in their younger days do things like fix a truck to be sure their neighbors were able to take their crops to the market so they did not spoil, or helping split firewood to be sure their neighbor had enough to make it through the winter. Did people expect monetary compensation in those times? No. Did people expect large amounts of praise for their labor? Absolutely not.
    Those in the generation of my uncles understood what being part of a community meant. They may have had differences or words with those they were helping out at some point or another, but when it came down to being a decent human being and keeping their township on track, people did what needed to be done. We are all missing that now. Our small towns are big cities now. Highways make great distances easily accessible in short periods of time, which allows those we interact with on a daily basis to be much more than simply the person down the street, or the owner of the local grocery store. We are spread out more now but have advancements which allow us to be in the presence of more people everyday than ever before, but we have lost what it means to be a true community. The care factor and need to protect one of our own has all but diminished from most of us.
    I really feel we need to get back to helping others for the simple, human need to take care of a situation when someone is in legitimate need, without them asking for help. The thing is, our span of reach is much larger now, so we should be helping more instead of casting glares to people who would be better served by our assistance. Stopping to help someone change a flat tire or helping your neighbor unload some landscaping supplies seems fairly elementary to most, but a gesture without an expectation attached to it really does make our huge communities a much smaller, much better place to live and grow as people. Give it a try sometime and you may surprise someone, or maybe even yourself.

Grace and Peace,
    Drew



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