I have a feeling that all of you, like me, have been hearing news report after news report about the mass shooting in Orlando.
I have been hearing reporter after reporter interviewing people and asking questions about what is wrong with America. They are partly right….there are things wrong in America. There is hate and prejudice but there is also compassion, caring and goodness. But we need to remember this country is more than one news story or a series of new stories about people who go on shooting sprees.
This country is more than the highly publicized stories. This country is about ALL the people who live in it. It is about all of their stories. It is the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the sorrow, the joy and everything that makes up the lives of it’s citizens.
A lot of those stories reflect good, compassion and helpfulness. Those are the stories you rarely get to hear on the news. I am not sure why not; but they just don’t tell us those stories. I have witnessed those stories happening in our small community and I am pretty sure we are not unique.
I have witnessed the good stories on our family vacations. Many of our vacations have involved car issues. Maybe this is because we always purchased used vehicles and tended to fix them ourselves. Because of this we, as a family, have witnessed first hand the many good kind people in this country.
I will not forget the time we went to Colorado with our boys. We packed up our old StarCraft fold down camper that we fondly called “Brownie”. (mainly because she was beige-ish in color), loaded the coolers with food and headed west.
We decided to take a day trip to the Royal Gorge while we were vacationing in Colorado. We ran into rain on our way back to the state park, where we were camping. As we had the windshield wipers going and the headlights on; we noticed the lights start to get dimmer and dimmer. Our alternator decided it was a fine time to just quit.
There we sat by the side of the road. (This was in the age before cell phones.) It did not take long and a guy in army fatigues stopped and offered to help. He had tools and removed the alternator; then he and my husband headed off to a car parts store.
My boys and I played numerous games of “Go Fish” while we waited…..and waited. It started to rain again and our windows were down. We couldn’t put them up because we had electric windows. (I was really wishing we had the old crank type at that point.) While we waited two different cars stopped to ask if they could help.
While waiting, my oldest son casually mentioned that he hoped his dad was okay. When I quizzed him why he had said that; he responded, “Those army guys are trained to kill you know…..” Looking back I can laugh about that comment…..at the time it was not funny at all!
After what seemed like hours, they returned. This young guy then put the part back in and our car was functional again. He would not take any money for all the time he had given us, for the gas he used taking my husband to get a new part, or for use of his tools. It turned out he was a tank mechanic on leave from Fort Bliss. He was definitely one of the good guys.
I will always be grateful to that soldier. He salvaged a bleak day on a vacation. He reinforced my basic belief that this country and it’s people are the best on this ball called earth.
If you take a look around you, at your churches, your schools, your family, your friends, your _________(you fill in the blank) I think you will see that the good definitely outnumbers the bad. I am convinced you will find more people that are grace-filled than hate-filled.
My heart and my prayers go out to those who have lost someone in this latest shooting. In the midst of all the upcoming rhetoric and endless debating let us remember that this is a story about real people. I might not agree with the gay lifestyle but these people are not just a news story for ratings.
Let us remember that we do have evil people in this country and that they will use whatever they can to inflict harm. Let us also remember to take a look at what is happening in the background of this story.
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,
my mother would say to me,
“Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Take a long look at those who are there helping, praying, consoling, and just being there. Those are the stories you probably won’t hear, but they are happening. Those are the stories that give hope for the future of this country and those are the stories I am hanging on to.
― Mahatma Gandhi
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,[b]
and to walk humbly with your God?