05-24-2018 Letters and Commentary

Dear Editor, My husband and I are from the area but now live in Grand Rapids for the past 25 years. We’ve been subscribers to the Record for the last five or six years. We enjoy reading about the events that take place in Southwest Michigan. I also enjoy reading the Spiritual Compass Points column by David Helms. I find them to be pearls of wisdom that this world of ours very much need. Thank you for including this column in your paper. And thank you for doing your best work in turning out this fine paper. Maria Young, Grand Rapids

Red Cross calls for summer blood donations to prevent a shortage; local drive planned

The American Red Cross is counting on volunteer donors to give blood and help ensure patient needs can be met this summer. Around Memorial Day, the Red Cross sees a steep decline in blood donations. Busy summer schedules, vacations and school breaks also cause a drop in donations. Accidents and medical emergencies don’t take a summer break – patients need blood every minute, every day. The public is asked to schedule an appointment to help ensure that hospitals and patients have the blood they need this summer. Make an appointment to donate blood by downloading the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). In thanks, all those who donate blood or platelets now through June 10, 2018, will receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card via email, courtesy of Suburban Propane. (Restrictions apply; see amazon.com/gc-legal.) More information and details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/ Together. Additionally, those who give May 25-29 will receive an exclusive Red Cross branded T-shirt, while supplies last. An upcoming blood donation opportunity in the Tri-City Area is on Friday, May 25, 12 noon – 5:45 p.m. at the Hartford Federated Church, 65418 Red Arrow Hwy. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/ RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.

Belonging, the beginning of hope One of the most difficult emotions we deal with is loneliness and the sense of isolation that comes with it. The solution is not just a matter of being surrounded by lots of people. A lively party can be a lonely place as much as an empty room. I remember times at school when loneliness was almost crippling. It was like a shadow that followed me everywhere. Lonely times can be vulnerable times for many people as well. Some may resort to drinking or to drugs to help dull the reality of not belonging. Loneliness can also produce anger – the anger that comes from the disappointment that evidently no one assigns value to us when we thought we had value. That anger can spill over to other areas of life as well, and can affect many. Some loneliness naturally results from the loss of a loved one or a spouse after many years of marriage. So what can we do about loneliness? First we need to recognize it for what it is – a temporary lack of meaningful connection, that is, connection that acknowledges the value of each individual. We acknowledge the value of others when we show interest in them (rather than waiting for them to show interest in us). Hence the proverb, “He who would have friends must show himself friendly.” Friendliness comes back. Next we need to remember that although we may not feel loved right now, God assigns us value by His love even if we don’t sense it right now: “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He took the first step towards us and assigned us intrinsic value by loving us. And that never changes, even when we feel isolated. Some loneliness is unavoidable and natural, but no loneliness need be terminal or controlling.