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Dear friends,

I always emphasize to my students that we live in community with others.  Sometimes we are fortunate to enjoy high levels of social support, when we feel surrounded with love and encouragement.  At other points in life, we may feel abandoned.  At those times, it’s important to remember the support that has brought us this far, and that we stand on the shoulders of others, some of whom we don’t even know.

Yesterday was Confirmation Sunday at our church.  On this day, teens who have completed a series of membership classes have the opportunity to join the church as adults.  It’s called “confirmation” because our denomination celebrates infant baptism, so at this time, the youth are called upon to confirm their baptism and willingly become a member of the community.

My favorite part of the service is when the parents and mentors of these teens gather around them to symbolize this sense of community and support:

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My wish for all of you is that you, too, feel surrounded by the support of your community.  And in those lonely times, remember the love and sacrifices that others have made to bring you this far.  No one is an island, and none of us is alone.

Whenever I hear (or read on social media) someone saying “I’m going to make it on my own and I don’t need anyone!” my heart hurts for that person.  Others will reply “Right on!”  While I applaud the spirit of strength, I also believe that such declarations may be coming from a place of pain, a feeling that nobody cares.  A sense of not being surrounded, supported by love and encouragement.  A sense of isolation.

We live in community with others.  Let’s foster a sense of brotherly / sisterly love with those around us.