North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 16, 2013

Danielle Cater: Be more than just a neighbor today

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — Tragedies strike all the time. Humans are no strangers to pain and suffering in our circumstance, but what we do with these instances is what defines us.

Our north Jefferson community has been struck with some hard blows the past month, and it is our responsibility to bind together during this time and show our neighbors what brotherly love and real community is all about.

Gardendale and surrounding areas are not used to dealing with murders or attempted murders in their city limits, and I pray to God that we never have to get comfortable with those headlines. As we sat and gathered information about the terrible happenings last week, it broke my heart to know that so many people were going to be affected by the actions of one person.

Now is the time to link arm in arm and stand together to help our fellow man. I didn’t personally know the ones involved in this situation, but it would be hard to go one block in our town and not run into someone who did. Everyone is hurting and confused, and this is the perfect time to get past any differences that we may have and bind together.

It doesn’t matter if you are Baptist, Catholic, Mormon, Church of Christ or Methodist. People are hurting and they need your prayers. Go past any denominational barriers that you may have built over the years in the Bible Belt, and let’s show our friends and neighbors what it really means to be a community.

It’s easy to be a good neighbor when nothing is happening, and the most inconvenience that comes your way is when they need to borrow a cup of sugar or their dog gets into your garbage. But our true tests come when tragedies strike and we are forced to put some action behind our love.

If you know someone who is hurting right now, give them a phone call or even just a message on Facebook to let them know you are thinking about them and that they are in your prayers. You may even want to go above and beyond and pay them a visit at their house. Bring a card or some baked goods to let them know that you put thought into your visit, and that what they are facing is on your mind and you are caring for them.

We get so wrapped up in our lives and in our petty little circumstances that it is easy to forget about those around us. Sometimes it’s a good thing to take your eyes off of yourself for a minute and focus in on the world around you. You may look around you and see happy people who don’t have a care in the world. But I think that if you look hard enough, you can find a person who is hurting and needs you. Be more than just a neighbor or a co-worker — be a friend.

Our community needs friends right now to help them through this tough time. Show what loving and caring is really all about by being more than just the person next door. We have been given the perfect opportunity to shine and to show what the north Jefferson community is made of. I hope we are a light that shows what real love in a community looks like. May those around us be able to see our little lights shine.

Danielle Cater is the general manager of The North Jefferson News.