My heart aches for people who have no family. People whose bridges have all burned, whose loved ones have all died, whose families couldn't cope, whose potential was never realized because no one was there to fan the flame. I wish I could share the gift of my family with every one of them.
There was a young man in the parking lot last night when I stopped at the drug store. He had just been on the phone, and was obviously beside himself with frustration. I asked him if he was OK, and he replied that yes, he was fine, but that his electricity was being shut off in a matter of minutes and he was still $50 short. He had a wife and three young kids at home, and I could tell he was ashamed that he wasn't able to ensure that their needs were met. We talked about local assistance programs, and I gave him my card, asking him to call if he needed advice or help.
How have we built a society that allows people to feel so alone? What happened to community? When one is without family, why isn't there a neighbor or a kind stranger to step in and meet a need? We have become so afraid of one another that we leave people to struggle alone. We close our eyes to their pain.
We have the money, the food, the land, the resources to care for everyone. We do. Population growth has slowed dramatically, so we can't use that excuse that the planet can't sustain the population. We shouldn't either be able to close our eyes to the fact that 21,000 children die EVERY DAY from simple lack of food. That's across the world, mostly in Asia, and it's a big, complicated problem that individuals alone can't solve. But that one guy in the parking lot with kids at home and no money? We can help him.
There is no more important calling in any of our lives than to care for one another. We can be family for those who have none. If we just open our eyes, our hearts will do the rest.