‘Love your neighbor:’ The key to better modern living

| March 23, 2014
Chasiti Falls

Chasiti Falls

By Chasiti Falls

When I was a child, my neighborhood friends and I would sit around and joke about if we were to die, who we wanted to attend our funeral and who would miss us the most.

We would discuss how our lives would be different if one of us were missing.  Never in a million years did we imagine that no one would miss us.  As children, we never fathomed that we would be left to rot in the back seat of a truck, or sitting in front of a television for three years while our bank accounts were drained by auto-pay withdrawals.

Mark 12:31 gives the second commandment:

“‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Unfortunately, several recent stories in the media have me thinking that people of the 21st century have no moral investment in that commandment anymore. Or is it that people have slowly evolved to believe that the commandment states, “‘Mind your own business.’ despite the circumstances?”

Growing up on the eastside of Fort Wayne, there was always that elder who could tell you about anybody and everybody. When someone’s routine was altered, that elder on the block knew immediately. What has happened to the Mrs. Pearl Shays at 227 of the world?

Today’s society is riddled with violence and illegal activities, thus you would think people would pay more attention to each other. On the contrary, society has trained us to have eyes wide shut.

I feel obligated to talk about the pink elephant in the room.

One thing I learned living in Cuba with 20 women to a room, is you have no personal business. Every decision I made affected the next person. The smallest thing can put a ripple in the day of all parties present.  Simple things like ironing my uniform would ensure that my classmates and I had a good day.

So I remain perplexed when I read the stories like Joyce Carol Vincent’s of London who on Jan. 25, 2006 was discovered three years after her death still sitting in front of the working television. She appeared to be wrapping Christmas presents at the time of passing.

Vincent received housing benefits for more than two years; however £2,400 in unpaid rent accrued before officials decided to repossess the property.

And for 49-year-old Pia Farrenkopf of Michigan, whose neighbor continued to cut her grass, did no one miss her presence? She was found March 5 in the backseat of her vehicle that was parked in the garage six years after her passing. The key was half-way in the ignition.

Each of these women’s death supposedly went unnoticed because they had their bills assigned to auto-pay.

Farrenkopf was only found because the money in her account dried up. Her unacquainted stepfather stated that Farrenkopf’s mother was accustomed to not having contact with her children. For his failed attempts to reach the deceased for the wedding did not seem unusual.

But what about her job, when she was never seen or heard from again did no one notice?  Her employer commented that he had not seen her since 2008.

After the $54,000 in her account ran out, the bank foreclosed on her house, conducting business as usual, for this is the only reason she was found. A contractor for the bank was sent to do some repairs on the house when he discovered the mummified body.

There are some people who pay attention to detail and feel they are their brother’s keepers still left in this world. And, everything happens for a reason.

In February of this year, the body of missing Temple University pre-med student Nadia Malik, 22, was found in car parked for 12 days near the busy Amtrak station in Philadelphia. Her car had even been towed from another street. Police stated that her body was hard to see or notice due to positioning and the tint on the car windows.  She was slumped over in the passenger seat covered by books. Fortunately, an attentive citizen called the police and gave a tip because of the missing person report giving a vehicle description. Police released information indicating that Malik was in a hostile relationship at the time of her disappearance.

On March 7,Jesse Kirby, 76, of Alabama who passed away in his home a month prior was found in a closed room. His wife with Alzheimer’s disease continued life in other parts of the home. Police found Doris Kirby, 78, oblivious to the situation at hand along with two dogs that apparently died from starvation. A concerned relative had been attempting to contact the Kirby’s, and called the police. It was ruled that Kirby died of natural causes. A neighbor explained that Kirby had two children but neither realized what had happened and they were considered “sort of loners.”

People our society and sense of self-worth are crumbling before our eyes.

Empathy Is an Endangered Instinct”—Dean Cavanagh

We have to understand that when we ignore and/or downplay the life and presence of another fellow human being we are ignoring a part of ourselves.

Is it possible I see and feel things some type of way because I am a product of an educational system that made the students recite the Golden Rule every morning?  I have not heard of any student even receiving the ‘Citizenship Award’ anymore.  Now they give out things like, “Most Likely to Tell the Truth”.

Cubans have a saying, Una mano lava la otra y juntas lavan la cara.

One hand washes the other and together they the wash the face.

This is saying we have to take care of each other and together we can get the job done.

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Category: Features, Local, Spiritual Matters

About the Author ()

Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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