Nobody makes it alone.

Individualism may be among the worst lies ever told.

Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh may have done a lot of solo flying, but you can bet they had sponsors.

Where would Elvis have gone without Sun Records and Col. Parker?

This lesson never gets old. I’m studying it again as I have come to the end of the line with “helping” a man I love and believe in. It’s time for me to quit so others can come to his aid. I’ve done all I can do.

Others who know him have accused me of enabling his addictions and self-destructive behavior. Maybe they’re right. Either way, it’s time for somebody else to row the boat.

Why is this lesson so hard? I recently asked friends to help me get him out of jail. One friend, whose opinion about things I value highly, told me I was throwing good money after bad. OK. I’m done.

Why did I help in the first place? I help almost anybody because the Bible taught me, as a child, that when people ask for help, you help. Jesus taught if we are forced to carry a Roman soldier’s pack for a mile, we are to go a second mile. I know. The bar is set pretty high.

He also told us to love our enemies.

Still, I’m done. Next time he asks, I will have to say, “no.” But it will be hard. He came up hard and has never learned how to live any other way. I came up easy. My parents always gave when asked. Mama told me early on, “Charity begins at home,” but it took me years to learn what that meant.

Ripped off, used, abused, do I feel all those feelings right now as I write these words? Yes. Would I do it again? Probably.

At its core, what we are dealing with is a social problem. We are the only developed nation on the planet that does not offer universal health care or halfway houses for people released from prison. The Pilgrims Pathway House of Refuge in Spindale is one of the few such halfway houses here or anywhere else in the region. Pastor Wayne Stafford and his crew care for the recently imprisoned from as far away as Florida.

I used to bug the fire out of my parents by asking questions like, “If the Bible says we are to feed the hungry, how are there still hungry people in the world?”

Daddy finally told me after hearing me go on and on, “On the day you die, there will be hungry people in the world. People will be fighting wars; and all these other social issues you talk about will still be with us. That’s just the way it is.”

It broke my heart then; and it breaks my heart now.

As Holly Near wrote so beautifully, “I am open and I am willing, for to be hopeless would seem so strange.” But sometimes, I have to also own the fact that I have done all I can do for one case.

There will be others.

Contact Pat Jobe at patjobe13@gmail.com. He is the minister of All Souls Community which can be found on Facebook and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Lake Norman which can be found at uulakenorman.org. He lives in Grahamtown.