Proof of love

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

According to the Random House College Dictionary, a community is defined as "a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and have a common cultural and historical heritage."

That's a lot like defining quantum physics as "an equation" - it hardly taps the surface.

If you want a more accurate definition of community, read John Wallace's article in today's edition of the Star-News about Willie "Ray-Ray" Knight Jr., and his battle with Hodgkin's disease. This is not just a story about Ray-Ray, but about his community, and how they have rallied around to support him and his family as he endures the grueling regimen of chemotherapy. This is about a group of people who share far more than a location, a government and a cultural and historical heritage - this is about people who share.

Too often, we let ourselves be overwhelmed by the little things, from long lines at the checkout to bad drivers on the highway. We fret and fuss about the details and can count every tree that blocks our view without recognizing the splendor of the forest. How petty those details seem, compared to the obstacles this young teen faces. How petty our fretting seems, compared to how well he has faced them. How petty our social divisions are, compared to the unity Red Level has shown in its support of one young man.

As our society has grown more and more technologically advanced, we see proof of the old expression that "nothing is gained, but something is lost." We can email friends we have never met on the other side of the globe, but we rarely sit down at the local store just to shoot the breeze with friends and neighbors. Our world has expanded to the global neighborhood, while our physical neighborhood seems to be populated with strangers. We rely on insurance companies and specialists to tend our needs and they only know us by our Social Security numbers. Where is the sense of community that we all need so much?

In Red Level, that's where. In Red Level and Andalusia and Opp and anywhere people are not afraid to love and care and work for each other.