“For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow…” Ecclesiastes 4:10
I survey my kitchen this morning, my eyes focused on the jars full of chow-chow (a spicy relish that is wonderful on beans and cornbread) and think back to the chaos on Friday. Starting with a mountain of fresh produce I worked side by side with family and friends preparing this bounty for the huge pots waiting on the stove.
We visited and laughed together and cut everything into smaller pieces to fit through two grinders working non-stop. Working together made the job easier and more enjoyable. My friend told me their grinder belonged to their grandmother and then their mother and was over a hundred years old. They couldn’t run down to the store when they needed something. Instead they devoted the summer and fall to canning what they needed for the winter. By springtime, there were very few jars left on the shelves.
My grandfather not only had a garden, but raised hogs to butcher in the late fall. All the surrounding neighbors went from farm to farm to help each other. This all-day occurrence filled the smokehouse with the best ham you ever ate and other tasty meats. It was said they used all of the hog except the squeal.
I am amazed at the stamina of these special people. I spent only one day canning, these people canned for weeks. After my mess was cleaned up, the last pan washed, and the floor swept and mopped I realized there was no way to accomplish this project on my own. It was everyone doing their part that allowed us to complete the task in only a day.
Long ago it was a way of life to help each other when faced with a daunting task or needed help when someone was sick or injured. Even though your neighbor was miles away news always reached everyone when there was a need. It was this sense of community that helped people through the rough times.
It was the community that helped when someone’s house or barn burned down and everyone showed up to rebuild it. The Amish are well-known for this but there are others around who practice “being neighborly” today.
The 1970’s was known as the “me generation” with the individual being the most important. I recently learned that the new thing on social media is the “selfie.” This is a picture taken of oneself and posted on Facebook, Twitter, etc. The word was even added to the dictionary. Once again the focus is on the individual.
There is nothing wrong with these practices, but often it goes too far and results in a self-centered individual, oblivious to all around them.
I am proud to say I know numerous selfless individuals who are more than willing to help when there is a need. Often these acts of kindness are done anonymously or with very few people knowing about it. These are the type of people who do it, not for what is in it for them, but for how they bless and help others.
In Acts 4:34-35 we read how the new believers were taken care of and their needs met. Continuing in Acts 6, the story is told that when the widows were being neglected, men of the church were selected to take care of them. The church sets the example of how to help others in need. Jesus is the reason and motivator. In John 13:34 he says, “…love one another, as I have loved you…” Jesus set the example for all of us.
All of us can be helpers, from holding the door at the store to helping someone rebuild a barn. Working together with love in our hearts makes the task so much more enjoyable for everyone.
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: