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I am a physician and a person who has suffered from and overcome depression through a multifaceted approach. I have also been extremely disciplined n my approach to personal finance, business planning, generous employment, charitable giving and caring for patients that have come on hard times in the state of Michigan. I appreciated Palmer Parker's contribution here but have a few disagreements with him.
1. Most of the time depression has a biological and genetic contribution that is beyond a person's control. I have several generations of depression in my family and no amount of spirituality will overcome that. Spirituality is one important contribution along with medicine, therapy, physical exercise and, quite frankly, a little bit of good luck to battle a very real, biochemically induced ailment. Implementing strong habits for overcoming depression is important, but please don't imply that those that are depressed are so because they have invested their spirituality in the wrong place/values or have ignored spirituality altogether. A person with high blood pressure is not a spiritual malfeasant, he/she has an illness that should be addressed in a number of ways. Same with those who have a tendency to be depressed-particularly in difficult times. Don't place indue burdens on those of us suffer with such problems and don't congratulate those that are wired for a more up beat disposition as they have not chosen their genetics either.
2. Community:
I find the term most interesting in these times and have morphed to a different view. As an active Christian for several decades, I have always tithed, participated in medical missions, have sacrificed my own personal income for the sake of my employees. I have been a strong believer in "Community". My experience lately in this country has caused me to re-evaluate my view of this term. As a potential "victim" of "Health Care Reform", I see a mob gathering outside my door demanding that they want more of me for less and it is "their right"- all in the name of "Community". I see beneficiaries of my generosity in the "Community" over many years voting to raise my taxes and lower my salary, so I can no longer generously participate in the causes or efforts that they hold so near and dear. They don't seem to understand that this is a time where I need to see some reciprocity of support for the years of generosity they have enjoyed and benefited from.This mindset will eventually destroy some of the efforts that have been built by "Community". It has become almost a Pavlovian reflex for me to go into "protection mode" now whenever anybody talks about "Community" because I have come to recognize that many times it is trying to convince me that I need to be more generous, they want "something for nothing", and a reciprocating form of support (of any kind) coming in my direction is never going to happen.
Call me cynical (to say the least), but this economic time has caused me to re-evaluate my generosity so that it is invoked and put forth on my own terms for the causes I value on my time frame. I also don't expect anything in return-which is sad and very demotivating in terms of jumping into the deep end of "Community". Quite to the contrary. I will be more guarded and skeptical. This is more like a realization of Rheinhold Neibhor's "Moral Man Immoral Society" than an awakening to the virtues of Community. I have been summarily unimpressed with many of the communities I have worked for tirelessly in the past to support only to see them apathetic or antagonistic in a time when I need their support.
Scott Wilkinson M.D.