ROSE NOLEN: Christmas is time to think about plight of your neighbors

Friday, December 9, 2011 | 3:24 p.m. CST

Home is the place you go to, not the place you depart from. Especially at Christmastime.

That's the way it used to be before times got hard and homes were lost in the shuffle. Now Christmas is anywhere with a warm spot by the door and a place that welcomes you.

People who have families will say this is the worst time of the year to be homeless. But you don't really get to choose a time. When you run out of money, the time chooses you.

Throughout America, people are losing the places they call home. Court officials are locking doors and sending people away. Some of those being sent away are little people — children — with nowhere left to go.

Mothers and fathers have lost their jobs and run out of savings. Some are fortunate to have relatives who can take them in. Many are alone and need a helping hand.

Sometimes these folks have to dig in, break the law and wait to be thrown out. How long they are allowed to stay before being hauled away is anybody's guess.

If you believe all the people being cast out of their homes did it to themselves because they used bad judgment, you might be right some of the time. 

But what about those who waded into muddied waters and took their chances with risky loans and counted on unreliable mortgage holders?

What about those who suddenly lost their jobs and couldn't find another? Do you believe the thousands whose property is put on the block were all bad risks?

Do you help people who have no insurance and then get sick? Or those who are poor because they didn't save any money?

The answers, of course, are up to the individual. Some believe they have no moral responsibility toward their neighbors. Others believe they do.

Yet, as time goes on and things get worse, ultimately something will have to be done. With so many in the population opposed to helping their neighbors, how will this situation be resolved?

Shall we leave it up to each individual to decide whether to help someone in need?

I like to remember the America I grew up in as a child. There was no question about it. If a neighbor was in trouble, it was everybody's duty to pitch in until we got the matter solved.

Neighbors wanted to help; they didn't wait to be asked. The really great thing about it was this: When your turn came around, there would always be someone waiting to help you.

If you really can't go home again, may I be the first to say that I'm glad I lived there once. It's far better than to never have lived there at all.

Can I get a witness?

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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