Monday, December 1, 2008

Isolated and Alone

We are an isolated society. In some areas—like California, for example—homeowners are isolated from their neighbors by cinder-block walls, chain-link fences, and other barriers. Even when neighbors don’t erect fences, the isolation can be just as real. For example, how many of your neighbors do you know personally? These days, particularly in new communities, most people rarely become acquainted with their next-door neighbors.

As each family faces the various crises of life, they often do so alone. Their neighbors never know their joys or sorrows. A friend of mine once told me a sad story. He learned from a newspaper article that the sixteen-year-old son of a family living across the street had been killed in a car accident. Prior to reading the tragic news story, he didn’t even know the name of the family or that they had a teenage son.

When I was a boy in Michigan, everyone in our neighborhood knew everyone else for miles around. Of course, our entire county had fewer residents than the high-density housing developments of today. Not only did people know each other from living in the same area so long, but many of us were related. Within the radius of a few miles I had uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents. When any crisis arose, we supported each other.

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