Love heals community

By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer

I know a man — we will call him Michael — who is at war with the world. Michael’s night job is drink­ing. He has been an alcoholic off and on the last several years. His father left when he was young, and his present parents ignore and blame him for every possible flaw. His best friends tease him into one-night stands. Michael finds his temporary fix on the bas­ketball court or soccer field. “Fulfillment” never looked so broken.

Why is it that things are fixed only after they are broken, but never stopped from breaking?

Somewhere, a step must have been missed.

Michael is a composite of stories I have heard over the years, but the image is no less desper­ate than the realities.

“Fixes” cannot start when a student is already broken to the point of suicide. An alcoholic cannot find fulfillment in tossing the bottle.

To prevent the gut-wrenching places in life we so often find our­selves or the ones we love, proactive steps must be taken.

We are not so much in need of pro­grams, but in need of more relational care, attention and in­tentional, long-term disciple­ship. A youth in a gang-infested environment ac­tually stands a chance against the turmoil around him when someone dares to stand with him.

The roots of the prob­lem arise from lives void of relationships, disci­pleship and mentoring. These relationship-ori­ented words are far from flighty concepts. They demand dedication, con­sistency and often a life­long commitment.

Programs, although necessary to stem the flow of pain once it be­gins, can become too caught up in the tempo­rary. Those temporary solutions are needed, but only hand-in-hand with long-term develop­ment.

Someone once told me that both emergency room doctors and fam­ily physicians are nec­essary to keep a body healthy and prosperous. ER doctors keep a soul from perishing in dire situations, but a physi­cian can keep that soul from coming to the point of needing a trip to the emergency room.

Beginning with our own families, friends and the young people close to us, we can begin to ad­dress the problem. Every human is designed to be known and loved. To in­troduce this type of love early can change a down­ward-sloping path.

All the “Michaels” I have met consistently come back to one point of pain: Abandonment by a parent, friend or love.

It is this cycle of pain that can be prevented or broken. Remain con­stant, dedicated, stead­fast and determined in your walk with those you love. Step out beyond your comfort zone to in­fluence the lives of those you meet.

This is the ultimate problem solver of our generation, life and world.

The solution is to take the overflowing of com­fort we have received and pass it to others ev­ery day, every moment and every breath.

About Cardinal & Cream 1009 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.