Suppressed agony and suicidal tendencies stem from a world where simple outlets of hope and refuge do not exist. Those outlets start within the community. Sadly, “community” is becoming an abandoned expression with a doubtful outlook for recovery. Currently, cell phones and social media occupy and distract the minds of our greatest resources. Modern culture appears centered on quick fixes for extreme societal deterioration. Follow up care and procedures have been lost in an objectionable race to gain the highest numbers of people treated. The solutions to the needs of those around us rest at our fingertips and yet the majority of people do not even bother to raise a helping hand. Community is not subject to one religion, race or creed and should not be limited to the borders of your township. Community is that precious child playing in the room next you just as much as it is the lost soul restlessly sleeping in that alleyway. Everyone deserves the opportunity to overcome the emotions or hardship that has scarred him or her and weighs them down.
Selfishly and egotistically, political agendas as well as denominational disputes have blinded our society from the devastation troubling our communities. Holding a press conference and commanding change from a high-rise luxury suite does not exactly commission any reassurance to the person who just lost their son to an overdose. Lawmakers, at just about every level, fail to see that by building the community up from the bottom will cause the top to operate with less friction. That does not mean there will be an absence of failures, it just means that there will be an educated ability to learn from them and adjust accordingly. A house casually built with cheap lumber in soft mud will not last. So why do we allow representatives to approach our community that way? Any contractor asked will verify that a stable structure begins with a sound foundation.
Sadly, more often than not you see the “Church” neglecting the members of their own congregation, never mind the community in which the multi-million dollar building sits. Helping a single mother get an apartment should take priority over expanding that parking lot for the church. Churches do not even properly tend to the members they do have and yet there they are trying to make more parking spots to fit more people. The need to stay relevant with state-of-the-art furnishings compromises church integrity, inadvertently placing themselves on a pedestal. Putting yourself above anyone, intentionally or not, causes you to look right over his or her head. Compassion is the empathetic approach to actively helping those who suffer. Compassion is listening for that person crying out in misery through the microphone of a drug-filled needle then answering that call by helping them to sober up.
I see the desperation in the tired look of a defeated friend. I see the pain in those hidden in the open, wrapped in hopelessness. There is potential in those people tossed aside and wrote off as unsalvageable. Do they not breathe the same air or enjoy the same food? Are they exempt from love or even the affection of another human being? Showing that you care simply takes your right shoulder as a pillow or your left ear as a receiver. Maybe life would be better for that person if given a positive word or a hot meal. When is the last time you stopped and asked someone if everything is ok? Take a moment to thank a police officer or a veteran for their service, and maybe even ask how you can be of service to them. Imagine the response you would receive by being that bright day, shining through the darkest clouds of someone’s depression. It is never too late for anyone’s second chance.
Certainly one lone priest, pastor or congresswoman cannot do this. It takes effort from a willing community to build itself up. This is not a strenuous chore to scoff at or even some good deed aimed at impressing those around you. Putting words into motion by enthusiastically engaging in positive communal rehabilitation will transform the very face of your environment. Expelling society’s weaknesses with active participation only stands to revive the strength of a once derelict neighborhood. You, unfortunately, will not be able to help every person but I will guarantee that you cannot help anyone if you do not try. Quite simply, our leaders cannot influence the individuals that you or I can. Become a leader from your doorstep and do not underestimate the length of your arms in your quest to reach the destitute. Whether it is one person or many, you can make productive waves in that sea of despair. Whom you purpose to connect with today, even if it is someone that is somewhere typically avoided, could potentially change the appearance of tomorrow. So I ask; what are you willing to do for your community?
As we all know, life and peace do not always get along and I am only trying to open eyes. I do write this from personal experience. Not long ago, my state-of-mind grew weaker due to obscure thoughts triggered by years of adversity. In the moment, I was unable to see another way and I chose the route of suicide in my attempts to stop the pain. Thankfully, I was not successful. I have since fully recovered and reemerged with a vigor worthy of any testing. I did have to figure it out on my own because I did not have anyone in my corner. Therefore, I encourage all who read this to take a stand and befriend a stranger, because you never know how much your kindness will truly matter to that person.
“Nothing is friendly in any human situation if there is no friend around”- St. Augustine