What could have been a Saturday stroll quickened as the early morning's spitting rain prompted attendants to jog into St. Mary's Hall in Phoenixville.

The annual prayer breakfast, a respected and yet light hearted event, drew several leaders and humanitarians to discuss the community, moving forward and introspection.

Anthony Campolo, a vibrant and entertaining speaker who was invited to the meeting, presented the crowd with thoughts about selfishness.

In his estimation and by the expression of the crowd, selfishness has become a plague to Americans and the world.

Campolo said that as a whole the country's morals and hearts have strayed.

Attaining what is of the moment and style, be it clothes, cars or dates, is most important.

And what ever "it" is must be attained quickly.

We want what ever we want as soon as possible irrespective of who it may hurt or how unnecessary the item may be.

Campolo spoke to the crowd of mainly community activists hoping to inspire a change whose ripples might be felt in greater circles.

He then related a personal experience with a friend of his who displayed selflessness.

Campolo's friend is a man who had become very successful with a high profile job and prestige but whose wife had been experiencing health problems.

She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease that in her case was rapidly affecting her.

The man immediately resigned from his job to take care of his wife.

Shortly, she had great difficulty remembering aspects of her life including her family.

Friends, peers and co-workers pleaded with him to stay at work.

The choice was not worth it, they told him.

She did not even remember him.

According to Campolo, the man responded that he still remembered her.

I remember the woman I married, he said. I owe her that.

Campolo went on to describe how the man's time was spent caring for his debilitated wife.

Much of the care was similar to what is necessary for a child.

It was not a pleasant life to live or chose to live.

Yet it was what he chose simply because it was the right thing to do.

Campolo argued that we, especially the younger generations, are all too eager to put our individual happiness as a priority over what may be best.

Divorces and fame worship exemplify that.

Saturday morning, in a room with these dynamic people who give as much as they can, there seemed the possibility of bringing out a noticeable change.

Contrast that with what comes out of our TVs and radios much more often.

This is where selfishness is accepted if not expected from the famous.

We are easily envious and follow that ideal by bringing those ideals into our lives.

Campolo said that we are quick to pat ourselves on the back for community effort over the pursuit of money and possessions.

Just as Campolo's speech said, what is easiest is not necessarily best.

The easy and most satisfying route yields less of a lasting result as opposed to the harder and less attractive way.

Kate Saunders can be reached at ksaunders@phoenixvillenews.com

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