No Man is an Island

There really is truth to the saying that no man is an island.

Our actions (and inactions) both directly and indirectly impact those around us.

You may think that what you’re doing affects no one, but it isn’t true. This goes for positive as well as negative consequences.

A simple smile at a stranger could start off a chain of events that makes the world just a little brighter.

Or the death of someone who thought no one would notice or care could set off consequences that affect several generations to come.

I’ve seen both happen. Our communities are filled with people who affect our lives.

I LOVE being part of a community as much as I love being part of a big, crazy family.

I think I might have instilled that in my youngest daughter as well.

Kaden called last week. After two summers backpacking through Europe, she’s settled in Louisiana and has started a professional career in law.

She wanted to let me know she’d signed up to audition for local theatre productions. I was so happy. Not because she was following my footsteps onto the stage, but because she was putting down roots.

By searching for activities outside of work and home, she’s not only investing in her community but also forging her identity as an adult. (It’s exciting to watch your kids grow into beautiful adults but a little bittersweet when it’s your baby.)

Nevertheless, I’m happy for her.

Unlike my husband who was a military brat, I spent my first three decades in my hometown. Moving was never easy for me and we did it three times. It was absolutely vital for me to establish an identity in my new communities.

That usually involved finding a publication to write for, a place to work, a place to worship, a stage to perform on, a place to grocery shop, a place to do my nails, and a library!

These were MY places and they became my ties to the community.

Seeing my daughter search for those same ties fills me with joy.

Because we are all part of a bigger  picture, all woven into the same tapestry with our own unique design. None of us is an island!



This Wednesday (August 21) is National Senior Citizen Day.

It is crucial, now more than ever, that we stand up for these Seniors and show them love.

This is the the generation who paved  the way for us, often with little more than hard work and determination.

This is the generation who lived and laughed and loved, creating future generations to populate the world.

This is the generation who taught us, our parents, even our grandparents how to cook, fish, sew…

They taught the value of hard work and the art of compromise.

They showed how to give 100% when you already feel spent.

They are our living ancestors and we shouldn’t wait until they are lowered in the ground to honor them.

Job 12:12 Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?

When my kids were younger, I’d save up baby jars and we would tie ribbons around the tops and paint them. We’d fill them with peppermints and bring them to nursing homes to distribute to the residents.

The joy on their faces is something I’ll never forget.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that many residents of nursing homes are forgotten. They have no loved ones visiting, no letters, no gifts.

There are some seniors living alone in their homes, without even the daily interaction with staff or other residents.

My neighbor was one such man.

He passed away in his chair and it wasn’t until the mailman noticed mail piling up that a wellness check was performed. He’d been there for three days.

We all dropped the ball there.

Look around you. You can make a big difference by doing something small.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Visit a nursing home or assisted living facility
  • Bring in trash cans for an elderly neighbor
  • Cut the grass (or better yet, hire a teenager to cut the grass, helping both) for an elderly neighbor
  • Offer your services (cutting hair, playing piano) for a senior citizen facility
  • Volunteer with a seniors organization like Meals on Wheels
  • Have your children, grandchildren, or students make cards to distribute to a senior citizen facility. (They get cards and singing groups at Christmas; they need a JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT card!)
  • Pay a canteen fee for a senior (Many are on fixed incomes and can’t afford the luxury of a vending machine or concession treat.)
  • Call a hospice chaplain and ask for info on someone you can pray for. (They won’t be able to give you the name but you can get enough info to pray.)