Kathleen Stephan, PR-B Family Center Volunteer
Last week, I read an angry Readers' Viewpoint article. Alas, I do think Trump cares, which, unfortunately, means I'm weak-minded with a serious case of insanity, according to the letter writer. I'm not surprised since he also doesn't know who God is. The polarization of the Republicans and Democrats is one of our biggest problems. The shower of "absolute" facts and damaging accusations from both parties is too much to bear. I don't judge people based on their political affiliation and choose to get over it and support our leaders.
It is time to "step up" and be counted. This phrase is usually used in conjunction with political actions, the military or voting. I think it can also apply to being a good citizen of your community. It is easy to complain about unfair business practices, your neighbor's dog or "kids today." My question to them is, "So, what are you going to do about it?" The usual response is, "There's nothing we can do."
This past Sunday my pastor talked about the "wickedness" that prevails in the world. I thought it was a funny way to begin a new year. Wickedness is a tool of Satan. I was at a New Year's Eve party when one lady shared a story of being in Amsterdam and driving by the Red Light District. One dear sweet woman was so appalled that "it" was allowed. She said: "Why don't the ladies have enough inner strength to make better choices?" I said: "They're not high enough on the ladder to be concerned with morality." What a wicked world.
Today is Jan. 12. Have you broken your new year's resolutions yet? There are those among us who have resolved to lose weight, to exercise more, to quit smoking, to be agreeable with their neighbors. What kills us is that "just one time" cupcake, excuse that it's too cold to exercise, one smoke and an ornery neighbor. And then we just quit trying and say, "Maybe next year." My new year's resolution this year was to not make new year's resolutions. So I'm fine.
A terebinth tree is defined as a tree very common in the south of Palestine. In the Bible, it appears numerous times translated to "oak" or "trees of righteousness." The tree is made up of a tough wood that is almost indestructible. It develops a very deep root structure that allows it to remain green through drought years. When it is cut down, often a new tree sprouts on the stump.
I grew up in what is now defined as a fading middle class. Middle class was predominant when I was a child. There was more fluidity between "classes" when you could start poor and work to reach middle class or even upper class. Opportunities abounded and doors were open to almost everyone. It wasn't nirvana and there were road blocks, but they seemed surmountable. The American dream was of a chicken in every pot. I don't think that is so today.
My favorite season of the year has always been fall. Why? Because of the exquisite display of nature in the color of the leaves along with cool breezes and the need for a cozy sweater, and because celebrating the thinning crowds in shopping areas makes autumn a welcomed friend. When you're in the business of helping people, many new challenges also come with the change in weather.
The Pine River-Backus Family Center (PRBFC) is blessed to have a proficient, talented staff and wonderful, generous volunteers and donors. But I have to confess - among these awesome people we do not have a "barker." That's what I refer to as the carnival guy who lures you into his booth by catching your attention and getting you to participate; a salesman extraordinaire. So where would he fit in?
In ancient Athens, the key roles in governance were rotated through the citizens so all religious and political viewpoints were recognized. Serving was a responsibility of all citizens in self-governance. According to a Wikipedia article titled "History of Citizenship," the concept of citizenship was entwined with everyday life. It is defined as a strong relationship in the community with defined obligations to be active members. Volunteering fits this profile. These obligations were considered virtuous; a source of honor and respect.