We can all fight ‘Heart Hunger’

While working on a project this past week, I have watched one whole season of ”Hoarders” and one whole season of “Intervention” on my Netflix. I’m sad. I’m very sad to see so many hurting, hopeless, empty people all searching for acceptance, love and belonging. I call it being “heart hungry.”

“Heart hunger” is a worldwide epidemic. Hungry hearts all over the planet are trying to fill the hole with things — belongings, drugs, alcohol, food, sex, etc. They try anything that will quiet the hunger and give the illusion of fullness.

What is “heart hunger?” It’s a lack of intimacy with other human beings. That kind of intimacy should exist in families and friendships. It doesn’t always. It is based on trust, faithfulness, compassion, forgiveness, understanding and acceptance.

It’s that feeling that someone has your back, is honest enough to tell you the hard stuff and will blow away the chaff while hanging on to the wheat of your life. It is not enough to find people like this. We must also be people like this.

I think that “heart hunger” has spread so quickly because we seem to have forgotten that our capacity to feel and love grows as we use it. When we hold on to our caring, which we often do because of fear, we gradually stop being able to care.

The scriptures refer to today as a time when “the love of man waxes cold.” Wow, that hits it right on the head, don’t you think? Friends, neighbors, relatives used to form a great support group in each others lives. And everyone needs that kind of support, but most do not have it.

Won’t you all join with me to fight “heart hunger?” Make a promise today to spread “love and good cheer.” Give smiles, compliments, gratitude to all around you, whether you know them or not. Be forgiving of intended and unintended hurts. Ask someone if you can help them. If you know someone is hurting, reach out; don’t run away.

Love, caring, compassion and understanding are the most powerful tools we have to dispel the darkness we see all around us. And the most amazing part is when we use these tools to help others who are hurting, our hurting is diminished. It’s a win-win! You can’t say that about too many things!

Kathy Shaw of Boardman, Ore., writes a column, “The View from My Side of the Street.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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