The American dream. At one time it meant a job, a family, a mortgage, cable TV, credit, a new car, success. For one lady in Poga, it meant just having a home, and that she did, until the deadly storms of April 2011 hit, and her home, though modest, was destroyed. Thankfully, a group of men from Valley Forge Free Will Baptist Church and Little Doe Free Will Baptist Church heard about her demise and for several weeks spent their Saturdays building her a house. That’s the art of being a neighbor — the theme of our annual Progress edition, which is inserted in today’s STAR.
There’s an art to being a neighbor. It’s simple. It’s not about the things that we usually think of being the necessary accouterments, but it’s our relationships with the people around us — the people we work with, who attend church and school with us, our friends, family, and those who live next door or across the street from us.
In today’s economy, there are a lot of people who are having a really difficult time. Some have lost their jobs, their homes, and with high prices at the grocery store and gas pump, they are having a hard time providing the basic necessities for their families.
It’s a blessing to have some benevolent organizations such as Hale Community Ministries and ARM in our community. They are good neighbors every day, providing bags of groceries and clothing to those in need.
All around us are people helping one another — the policeman or deputy, who helps when there is a traffic accident or a crime committed. The fireman, who more often than not is a volunteer, gets out of bed at night to respond to a burning house in the community. When there’s an emergency, we call 9-1-1, knowing someone will answer and get us help. The Rescue Squad, the doctor and nurse in the emergency room, the kind lady at the Carter County Health Department, the lady at City Hall, to whom you pay your water bill, electric bill and taxes, the men who pick up your garbage each week, the crew at the electric company, who keep the lights on, the list is long of the people we count on every day to make life easier for us. They keep our community going. They often are people we take for granted — that is, until we need them.
Neighbors, they make a difference in our lives every day. They don’t have to live next door to us. They may live ten miles down the road, but, if you need them they are there.
The American dream is not so much about what we can get for ourselves; it’s about how we can get by together. It’s working together to solve our problems, to build a better community, to educate our children. It’s stepping up to the plate and taking action because there is a need and we want to help. It’s more about looking at the good in others, rather than their faults.
As a community we will always have our problems and our challenges, but what I’ve learned about this community is that we really are great, we really are built from a fiber and a core that says whatever it is that has to be done, this is the place to do it.
Changing a situation or a problem, whether it be in government, the workplace or even at church rarely occurs as a “plan.” In most cases, it happens when people can endure a situation no more and are mobilized to make it better. No glitz and no glamor, no supreme intervention, just men and women who are doing what they can to help make a situation better. That is all that it takes — action.
That’s the art of being a neighbor!