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December 21, 2021

3 Points To Ponder

1.
“Fear breeds in isolation. And living in fear manifests itself in bad ways. We must continue to be compassionate towards the isolated and look at the areas we can connect, not the ways we are different. How is your compassion reservoir right now? Full or empty?”

2.
“Even though we are more connected to information than we have ever been, we are becoming more and more lonely. How intentional are you to connect with others outside of social media?”

3.
“Sharing spaces and stories builds a future of unity; and unity fosters peace. Evaluate your life and see if you are incorporating living where you are physically around others and creating shared stories. If you have no peace, start there.”

2 Quotes To Share

1.
“When your neighbors are hurting, understand that so very many are suffering from wounds that politics cannot heal, that even your most fierce convictions shouldn’t stand in the way of grace, and that a lifetime of posting and tweeting is of little consequence compared to the concrete action of reaching out to those who feel so very alone.” - David French

2.
“Hope is locating oneself within a larger story, specifically a story that has a past that fills us with longing, a future that pays off on that longing, and then a present that engages our energies.” - Curtis Chang

1 Story of Impact

I was sent an email from a coworker, which included the most recent surveys from the Survey Center on American Life, and I was taken aback. I’ve known American life has been divided, but I didn’t know the depth of the loneliness divide. We are suffering from a friendship divide. A fellowship divide: Knowing we are connected to each other and when bad things happen, there is someone to stand beside me to help me through. In the last 30 years, when Americans were asked how many close friends they have, the percentage of people who say they have two or less has doubled. Think about that - over 30% of Americans say they have only two or fewer good friends. And if you don’t think this is tied to the opioid crisis, you aren’t reading the numbers, as over 70% of opioid overdoses are single males with only a high school degree or GED, as compared to 10% overdoses of married males with only a high school degree or GED. Loneliness is killing our society. I write this coming off a week of saying goodbye to my dad on this earth when we could tangibly see the impact of his life on so many others. Dad was an incredibly connected man, and it was such a blessing to hear the stories from so many of how much he meant to each of them. As a family, we are grounded in understanding our past and where we come from, living in the present connected with others, and having a future hope of the life to come. I’m not saying it was easy to say goodbye to Dad, but we also didn’t grieve without any hope. Or in isolation. We are part of something bigger than us, uniquely woven into a great story serving a greater purpose. Yet, there are so many who don’t know this truth. Who feel alone, fearful of the future, and living with no hope. This week and the weeks to come, how can you intentionally connect with someone living in this land? What are the tangible ways to show people you are “for” them? What are ways you can be a better friend to someone? And remember, for unto us a child was born, and He will be called Emmanuel, God with us. God sent His Son to be with and for us. We, in turn, do the same for others because of what Christ has done for us. Have a Merry Christmas. 
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Tim Brand 
Founder and CEO, Many Hands

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