Today I was reading a post on social media about a young Amish woman here in Western PA, who lost her husband to a tragic accident recently. She was left with five little ones and one on the way. Having no insurance, as is the way with the Amish, you may wonder how she will get by in the days to come? However, there is no worry for her there. As is also the Amish way, there has been an immediate outpouring from her church family and community. Allow me to back up here. Her church family is her community. And they quickly moved into action. The men harvested the remaining crops and cared for the animals. The women put up those crops, cooked and brought meals for her and her family – enough to get through the winter. There will be provisions for this young widow and her children because of the love of her community and their love of God. They are simply doing things the way they know to be Biblically sound. Selflessly and lovingly caring for their neighbor.
What struck me most about this particular post, other than sincere sympathy for this family’s loss, were the comments below it. Not a handful, but hundreds. Not one of them derogatory, that I read. Instead, every one longing for a time when the “English” (as the Amish refer to all of those outside of their community) would respond the same way.
Before the Great Depression, when the US government began the welfare program and others like it, lending a hand to your neighbor in a time of need was the norm. Folks were more than happy to reach out to a neighbor who was experiencing distress, and this sort of love and hospitality was understood, accepted gracefully, and offered without the least thought of reciprocation.
So what has happened in our culture since then? I dare say, many things I could mention or complain about. But what’s the use in that? Sure there have been trendy outpourings like “random acts of kindness,” or painting rocks with positive messages for others to find. These things are nice. They’re fun to do, and hopefully touch someone with an unexpected, kind deed. However, they are merely surface efforts.
I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to look at my neighbor in need and think – hey, there’s something I can do here, and proceed to do it.
I don’t need to provide you with a bunch of statistics for you to know that ours has become a self-absorbed, egotistical, enraged and entitled society with little use for others outside of what benefits themselves.
So what can we do? We can’t change the state of the world around us. But we can change the things we ourselves do, and say. How we interact with others, and react to the situations and people that we encounter. We can set an example of grace by showing our respect for one another. It has to start somewhere. Let it start right here.
Photo Copyrighted by Roger Coles