Today we are one week away from the celebration commemorating our Lord’s birth. For Christians next week will be a time of great joy and gratitude. But I think it’s important to remember that many people are also dreading next week. No matter how strong their faith, they are only human and next week will be a reminder of heartache and loss- relatives no longer with us, family members in pain, loved ones in the last stages of life. So please take time this week and next to say a prayer for someone you know who will be suffering.
Daily life and problems do not take a holiday and those who are poor this week will be poor next week. Several news stories this week have reported that charitable donations are down this year. Groups that collect toys and food and money are struggling with increased demand and decreased support. So if you have the means to contribute to a worthy local cause please do so today or tomorrow.
I have been struggling with my own little problem this week and while I realize it is a LITTLE problem compared to most, it triggered some thoughts about a very BIG problem in our country and especially in my home county. My doctor suggested that I take one of the “popular” drugs to relieve some of the neuropathy pain I have in my feet. He even gave me some samples. We discussed some of the side effects and the cost. He briefly acknowledged my reluctance to take anything for pain. I’m considering everything before making a final decision, but I think it is far too early in the progression of my condition to start taking something that could create more problems than it cures. But many people are not as cautious (okay fearful!) as I am and they will take almost anything that is suggested for the relief of their pain- physical or emotional. Some are in far more pain than I can imagine. But others are just avoiding ANY and ALL pain, and they do that by taking pills suggested by doctors, OR by friends and family members. It’s the latter that gets them into trouble. Our county has seen more than its share of drug addiction and drug dealing and the problems created by both. An underlying cause of the drug problem is prescription drugs, not those concocted in illicit labs. So many addicts start out on mild pain killers and advance to those that take over their lives. Changing some of our habits and improving our general health might be the best present we can give our families, especially our children. Just a thought for the new year, and another reason to pray for those we know who may be struggling with this problem.
And be careful out there! Lots of harried travelers.