The Blanco Republic
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“No Man Is An Island…”


by Ernest O’Dell – The Blanco Republic

Back several years ago, when I was much younger and irresponsible, I took off on a junket across the U.S. and Canada to “see the sights”. Had I really been more responsible with my life, I would have stayed home and worked. But, nonetheless, I had the opportunity to travel the U.S. and see a lot of what I had never seen.

While I was traveling, I managed to keep notes in a daily journal and I found it a while back. It brought back some old memories. Places like Lancaster County (Intercourse) Pennsylvania. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – at one time – was home of the world’s largest hamburger. Well… the Harrisburg Inn – back then, anyway – still made a 3 pound chili burger and I’ll have to tell you, it would fill you up! And it was still one of the best. I wonder if they’re still open…

Pesotum, Illinois, population 521, where descendants of German immigrants still have strong roots and you hear family names like Althaus, Reinhart, and Eisenminger. They call themselves a village, situated south of Chicago in fertile land growing soybeans. They’re a strong community because they’re tightly woven and committed to their lives and families.

Then there’s El Capitan of the Texas Guadalupe Park. He’s much bigger than the El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (They say everything is bigger in Texas.) He looks more majestic than his cousin on the west coast. But then again, I’m partial… I’m Texan.

Some people call it the end of the Rockies, and standing outside the car on Highway 62, you can see the majestic grandeur of the peak. When no cars are driving by, you can hear the wind blow, and you can take in all the beauty.

But El Capitan stands alone.

You don’t see “El Capitans” clustered around in groups.

Some 400 years ago, poet John Donne wrote,

“No man is an island unto himself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Living things, like humans, are different from mountains and rock formations.

Living things need each other to survive. On the plains of Nebraska you can see flocks of birds flying together and where bison once roamed in great herds. The “community” is not a “herd mentality” but rather a sign of strength.

Have you ever noticed a Colorado aspen tree? If you have, you may have noticed that it doesn’t grow alone. Aspens are found in clusters, or groves. Like the Live Oak of the Texas Hill Country, it sends up new shoots from the roots. In a small grove, all of the trees may actually be connected by their roots!

The gigantic California redwood trees may tower 300 feet into the sky. It would seem that they would require an extremely deep taproot to anchor them against strong winds. But such is not the case. I was told that their roots are much like the aspen and live oak and are actually quite shallow. Their roots spread out like tentacles in all directions, intertwining with other redwoods, and are shallow for a reason — in order to capture as much surface water as possible.

Locked together in this way, all the trees support each other in wind and storms. Like the aspen, the buffalo, and the live oak, they never stand-alone. They need one another to survive.

People, too, are connected by a system of roots. We call them communities… sometimes home. We’re born into families and early on we learn to make friends. We were just not designed to survive long without other humans in our midst. Looking back in Genesis we can see why God provided companionship for Adam, the first man:

“…It is not good that man should be alone. I will make him an help meet for him.” — Genesis 2:18

And like the redwood, we need one another to hold each other up. When we are pounded by life’s vicious storms, we need others to support and sustain us. Sometimes with nothing more than an encouraging phone call or inspirational email.

Have you been trying to make a “go of it” alone? Maybe it’s time to let someone else help hold you up for a while. Perhaps someone needs you as their anchor.

I hadn’t heard from an old friend in a long time. I hadn’t seen him online in the Yahoo Bridge games, and none of the regular team players had seen him in a long time. I picked up the phone to call him and got someone else; his cell phone had been reassigned to a new subscriber. My heart started racing as I dialed his home phone number… disconnected. Roger and I had been old friends for over 30 years.

I got on the phone and called his brother; left a message on his answering machine. Three weeks later Ron called me back and told me that Roger had passed away. I was saddened.

I immediately pulled out my dusty old Rolodex and started calling old friends in Houston and telling them what happened. Nobody had heard until I called. Now we stay in touch more often. Danny is back to driving semi’s cross country. Sonnie and Debbie are still singing with their kids in churches around the country; even got a couple or three CD’s out!

Stan is still alive… barely. Still smoking, but still alive. Frank was going crazy until he found out that his cancer was benign. Hmmm… perhaps he finally tried prayer. Who knows.

Wilson is also a writer and has some interesting web sites about the South (Florida, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee…).

Melvin, Julie, Bill? Where are you? Nobody’s heard from them in a while. Leon and Betty have “gone on”…

Give a friend a call… before it’s too late. And don’t wait until you haven’t heard from them in a while. They may need you, and may need to know that someone still cares.

Sandy… I love you. And if I have to chase you another 8 years to get my point across that I need you, then… so be it! 🙂


2 Responses to ““No Man Is An Island…””

  1. Oh, and by the way Sandy, in another 8 years, I’ll be 62. Will you be up to dealing with a man who never plans to retire? 🙂

    I love you.

  2. Well Ernest you really know how to express your feelings. I am completely taken by your words…… I have problems expressing myself at times…..just about the time I let my gaurd down is when everything comes to the surface and believe me I have a lot of stuff going on under the surface, with my feelings…….. I am still trying to get pass the past and for me it has been a difficult rollercoster. I don’t see myself ever married again or for that matter even living with another human. I spend so much time by myself I’m not sure how it would work for me, so I continue to love from afar……..I do hope that you understand, I’m not sure that I will ever be ready again, I know not in the near furture. With that being said I hope that we can continue to be freinds. I will pray that your book rushs itself to the final chapter soon and that your heart is always full of love. I know of a house for rent, I think she mention around $600.00. Let me know if you are interested.

    Lot of Love,
    May God continue to bless you as you continue to be a blessing to others,

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