Dec 15 - mkamplain
D. Gary Davis
For Tuesday 12/15/2015
This time of year is one of my favorites. Many in our community may be traveling to another location, or have family or friends traveling to be with them here in Bradley County. As wonderful as this is, it is not the case for all in our community. Many are dealing with a continuing, or a new, diagnosis. They may also have to watch others be with family and friends, when they are facing an empty chair at their dinner table. These thoughts will be discussed more in next week’s article, but they stirred my emotions for those who seem to a "hope deficit” that can be compounded at this time of year.
A Harvard poll, as well as another poll produced from The Pew Research Center were released this past week. Both of them had, to me, alarming results. They respectively found that "Nearly half of youth say the " American Dream” is dead & that "Middle-Class families, the pillar of the American Dream, are no longer in the majority”. Explained in each report were numerous possible reasons, but a common thread is the loss of what this season represents to so many, HOPE. These four letters contain so much power and possibility but when denied they produce despair and angst.
Bradley County, Tennessee is not immune, nor are we an island unto ourselves. As the world continues to become more integrated and cohesive this effect may increase. But there are many who work, pray and believe each and every day to not only be an example but to help provide hope and a way out of this drought that some may find themselves in who call our region their home. So strong is this emotion that a portion of Bradley County has been known as Hopewell for most of our existence.
We are blessed to have a variety of places of worship that seek to be a help to those who may ask for assistance from them and are looking for a place to belong. Multiple locations of higher learning also await individuals who are looking to increase their possibilities of learning new and expanded job skills and thought processes. Youth programs, adult and senior programs abound and each are looking for those who seek to be a part to help others and provide a place of fellowship. But please understand a community like ours may have the "best of the best” available and awaiting those to serve, help and encourage but we also need those who may be suffering to also take an active role in participation. This does not have to be massive on their part but it will, and does, take some initiative. I remember hearing as a youth that a journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step.
I am constantly humbled by the vast majority in our community who work diligently and while not seeking recognition, make it their goal to help improve the life of others. This truly is one of the greatest gifts of all time and is prevalent each day in Charleston, Cleveland and all of Bradley County. If you find yourself as a citizen, resident or a visitor "just passing through” I hope that you find this "Southern Hospitality” alive and well each day. And please know that in our portion of the State of Tennessee and the Nation at large we not only believe in hope, grace, forgiveness and thankfulness, but we strive to exemplify this is all we do in this Christmas season, and all year long. Just more examples and reasons why Bradley County truly is Tennessee at its best!
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