Thursday, September 03, 2009

Shut In, Shut Out, Forgotten

How many people do you speak to on a daily basis? Sure you speak to your family, friends and co-workers. You probably speak to your neighbors on either side of your house. You wave to them as you leave or come home from work. But what about that old lady down the street? Do you know anything about her? Have you noticed that she rarely gets out? Does she even have a way to get out?

We are so caught up in our daily lives that we may not even think of the people we don't see often. They may not live near you, but they are there. One day you could be one of them. These are the people who for any number of reasons could be called shut ins or maybe even forgotten. Maybe through no fault of their own, they are single, widowed, or divorced and have no-one to turn to in a time of need. Maybe they are poor and hungry. Maybe the only contact with the outside world for them is the people from Meals on Wheels who bring them food. Just imagine that the only human contact you have is a person bringing you a meal. On the other hand, maybe they don't need the Meals on Wheels program. Maybe they have a neighbor or relative who occasionally stops by to take them to buy groceries or just to walk the mall. Imagine how good that must feel, just to get away from the confines of those four walls, even if only for an hour or two.

There are a lot of people who are alone. They are not all old or shut in. Some feel shut out because it seems that nobody cares. No one seems to want to take the time to stop by and say "Hello". How much would it cost to stop by and ask, "Do you need anything? Can I take you somewhere?" or even just "How are you today?".

Some day we will all be alone. Some of us will have family that we can depend on for help, love and security. Some of us will not have that luxury. Some will not know where to go or who to call. Yes, there are outreach programs thanks to some religious or state and local governments. Still, some people will either not know how to reach for help or will be too proud to ask for help.

Remember when you know someone who is alone, or see someone who is alone, that could be you. Give them a smile, or a helping hand now and then. Talk to them. Don't let them be shut in, shut out, or forgotten.