We are all in this together

David Atwood Points of the Compass
Posted 7/12/13

We are all in this thing we call life, together. None of us got to where we are today without help.

I have never bought into this idea of a self-made person. We each had a mother and father come together to make certain of our life here. They may …

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We are all in this together


We are all in this thing we call life, together. None of us got to where we are today without help.

I have never bought into this idea of a self-made person. We each had a mother and father come together to make certain of our life here. They may have been parents only in the biological sense, but we owe them for our existence. Further, someone assumed at least a minimal role as a nurturing parent until we got to an age where we could take care of ourselves. In some cases, it is sadly short, while in others, it is ridiculously long, but in any case, we are all in this together.

We humans tend to think of time as a linear thing. In our minds, it has a beginning and an end, but life’s experiences teach us that time is measured in overlapping cycles of doing the same things that have been done in the past with the experience being unique to us. I am not talking about history repeating itself and how we should be students of the past and not to repeat it, I am talking about everyday life where we study the past to learn the very good things that should be repeated, expanded and improved on. There are kindnesses every day and in every life that bear repeating. As it has been done to me, I will do unto others. One such incident came full circle on me this past week.

We have sent the Princesses, this year and last, to a church program called Especially for Youth, EFY for short, where about 500 like-minded youths from all over the South gather for a five-day course of scripture study, classes, ice cream fights, dances, staying up all night and all things that the young find fun. We as youth did the same. It is a cycle worth repeating.

There are adults who are directors and young adults who act as counselors to maintain some order in the chaos of zealous youth, and they do a great job. This year we received an email two weeks before the gathering with a challenging game for the youth from the directors. Five questions were posed about the husband and wife team, and the challenge was to research the answers. The first to give the correct responses to the director couple would win a prize.

The Princesses and I did our diligent research and found all the answers, and as we did, each revealed to us some aspect of this couple’s history, personality, and involvement with the youth of the church, but the research revealed more than that. The last name of this couple was the same name of a family who had done me a great kindness almost 40 years ago. Could there be a connection? The more I read, the more I became convinced that there was. This had to be the son and daughter-in-law of a lady who dared to ask a question that changed the course of my life and my family’s history.

I had been attending and investigating our church for over a year. The Townsend family had befriended me and my wife and we became very close. The mom of this family loved me enough to ask me what it would take for me to become a member. That is it, nothing magic or tricky, just a simple, straightforward question. The moment was right, and as they say, the rest is history. That simple question asked by someone who cared has meant more to me than any challenge ever offered. We soon moved away from Austin, Texas and on to life’s adventures and contact was lost, but that kindness offered so many years ago was about to see another cycle.

When we got to campus where the EFY event was being held, I was most anxious to meet the director. When I saw him, I knew that my suspicions as to his identity were correct. For over a year, near 40 years ago, I had sat behind him and his family, held him as a small child on my lap when he got bored and needed a distraction, had him in my home for dinner as our families grew closer. Although he did not remember me, he remembered the name and the stories his mother had told him concerning us. It was a joyous reunion.

Through him, his mother and I reconnected and have had a wonderful time exchanging emails and getting caught up on 40 years of adventure and misadventure. Her husband, who loved me as well, has passed as such things happen in life, but the good their family has done will live forever.

The Princesses emailed me a picture, which will be a treasure to me forever. There stands the man who I nurtured on my lap when he was a small boy, with his arms around my Princesses guarding and protecting them. Wow. Insert tears here. May the circle be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by ...? We are all in this together. Pass it on.

David Wilson Atwood is a local writer whose human-interest columns offer a unique perspective. He may be contacted, and his other works viewed at: www.starchasers.us, or david@starchasers.us.