Multiple long-time friends here on the Island have recently sold their homes and are closing the chapter of their lives that included living on Daufuskie. All of them have been here at least fifteen years, but they have now reached a point in their lives where they need easier access to family and the many modern conveniences available on the mainland. It seems that there is a season in life when living on a bridgeless island is most enjoyable, and as all seasons do, that season eventually comes to a close.
Yet as these friends move off the Island, new families are moving in to begin their own adventures. That got me to thinking about the beginning of my family’s life here fifteen years ago, and the people who impressed upon me the qualities that make our community so special. Chris Hutton was perhaps the most impactful, with his gentle demeanor, easy-going smile, and constant willingness to help others. Chris knew everyone on Daufuskie, seemingly knew everything about the island, and, as a commercial general contractor, had access to nearly any piece of equipment or tool needed to fix any issue that might arise. He would drop whatever job he was working on to help a neighbor in their time of need, and he taught me through his example what it meant to be a good citizen of this unique community.
We are a unique community precisely because we have so many people willing to step outside of themselves to help neighbors, whether they be long-time residents or newly arrived. On an island without a bridge where outside help is unreliable, it is incredibly comforting to know that those living around you will come to your assistance in a moment’s notice. Yet this is exactly the sort of community culture that can change if the people moving in either don’t understand or embrace the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus said in reference to himself, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve”. That was the spirit that I noticed in Chris Hutton, and that I have seen in so many others here on the Island during life’s little emergencies and in Island celebrations like Community Thanksgiving. My prayer is that the people moving to the Island see this same spirit in their neighbors and seek to embrace it themselves. For all of the natural beauty that this Island affords, it is truly the sweet, selfless spirit of the residents that makes this such a phenomenal community. This is the legacy of those who are now moving off of the Island, and we owe it to each other to make it our legacy as well.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron