Today is Tuesday, July 22, 2014rss RSS feed

By Dr. Gary Welton

Old Man

Alone Again?

The Center For Vision & Values

The Center For Vision & Values

Grove City, PA --(Ammoland.com)- Our elderly church member and friend had been widowed, again.

When we visited his home, we saw that he had written on his calendar, “Alone again.”

He was a man of strong faith, and he was not questioning the presence of his God. Yet, his raw human emotions were quite understandable, and he needed our friendship and presence. On that particular day he did not need or want our advice, but we knew in the months ahead we would have the opportunity to debate his conclusion.

He was not alone.

Rather, he had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who loved him and regularly visited and cared for him. He had church members who filled the gaps when the family members were busy or away, not to mention other neighbors and friends. He was blessed by being surrounded by a loving community of individuals who were committed to him and to his care.

My wife and I have seen the benefits of living in such a caring community in the last two years, following her cancer diagnosis, treatment, and complications. Indeed, we have not been alone. Although I transported her to Pittsburgh when I could, there were always gaps in which friends, family, and church members rose to the occasion. Although my son cooked meals whenever he could clear his schedule, we were always surrounded by many willing to assist, in spite of our various dietary restrictions.

Our raw emotions were such that we often needed words of encouragement and support, and constant prayers on our behalf. During the worst weeks, we never experienced a single day without receiving a card in the mail, not to mention all of the electronic communication and support. We were never alone, nor could we imagine undergoing such an experience without the community around us.

What would it be like to experience such a trauma without that support?

Recently, CNN has carried a series of stories on homeless college students. They have featured some young adults who had nowhere to live during the Christmas holiday season, when their campus closes down and the dorms are locked. They resume their homeless existence, awaiting the new semester.

These stories recall to my mind countless students over the years that were given a bed and shelter in our home and the homes of others in our church community. As a child and as an adult, my family hosted international students from Japan, China, Sri Lanka, and Saudi Arabia. I remember hosting students from across the country who did not have the financial support to return home for a college break. We took care of our students and incorporated them into our family and church lives.

As I have read the stories recently about homeless college students, I am grieved, realizing that these students do not have this community support of extended family, friends, or churches. The strong community structure that I took for granted as a child does not exist for them. The strong community structure that we have experienced during our episode with cancer is not available to them.

Best-selling novelist Jodi Picoult uses this focus in several of her novels. In “Change of Heart” ( http://tiny.cc/bbif9w ) she writes, “What religion did for me went beyond belief—it made me part of a community.” In “Sing You Home” ( http://tiny.cc/ddif9w ) she writes, “I wasn’t just born again, I was given a large, extended family.”

Indeed, our government is too big, and we should not expect government to be all things to all people. Unfortunately, though, our churches in America are becoming too small. Sometimes by their own personal choice, and other times by the failures of particular churches, some do not experience this sort of community strength during times of need and crisis.

We are not all alone, though we will sometimes experience emotions of that sort. And when we are in positions of strength, it is our duty and our desire to be there for those around us who are struggling, to support them during their difficult times.

We will all experience times that are better, and times that are worse. May you, in your tough times, be surrounded by a strong community; may you not be alone. During your strong times, may you share your strength with others, contributing to a healthier community.

— Dr. Gary L. Welton is assistant dean for institutional assessment, professor of psychology at Grove City College, and a contributor to The Center for Vision & Values. He is a recipient of a major research grant from the Templeton Foundation to investigate positive youth development.

© 2013 by The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. The views & opinions expressed herein may, but do not necessarily, reflect the views of Grove City College.

Ammoland Click to read AmmoLand FTC Marital Disclosures Distributed to you by - AmmoLand.com – The Shooting Sports News source.
  • Leave a Comment

    • Sign up Ammoland for your Inbox

      Daily Digest

      Monthly Newsletter

    • Recent Comments

      • Janek: Methinks the decreeing Council-Man’s views on control are discounting ‘free will’ and...
      • RON CHAMBLEE: I HAVE LOVED THE DANIEL DEFENSE COMPANY FOR MANY YEARS BUT I CAN’T AFFORD TO BUY A HIGH QUALITY...
      • Paul Weissler: This laser training kit works great with our OCATS Marksmanship Training system. Using OCATS...
      • TSgt B: Just called her office to ask 2 questions: Who is her physician, and will he/she prescribe me the same meds...
      • Jim Touloumes: I have Horton tr 175 recall what are my options
    • Social Activity

    • Most Popular Posts

      • Google+ Direct Connect

      Copyright 2014 AmmoLand.com Shooting Sports News | Sitemap | Μολὼν λαβέ

      Win a Daniel Defense DDM4v9 Rifle

      Subscribe and receive our emails , the drawing will be August 15, 2014 maybe you will be the lucky shooter receiving a Daniel Defense DDM4v9 Rifle. For more information visit the Daniel Defense promotional page.
      Monthly email subscription from Ammoland
      11919592
      12467856