August 18, 2017
I didn’t want to do it, but apparently it’s about time. I think I’m fairly tolerant and forgiving; I’ve regularly picked up beer cans, pop cans, paper cups, plastic bags, shirts, socks, and even a soiled baby diaper. Some people seem to think our creek bank and swimming hole is their personal garbage dump. The two beer cans, pop bottle, energy drink bottle, and assorted papers I picked up tonight were run of the mill trash; but the used sanitary napkin put me over the edge. Sad to say, I think it’s time to post the land.
We live in a country in which people are increasingly fixated on that which offends them, and decreasingly aware of or concerned about how their actions affect others. Black Lives Matter had people rioting in the streets of Baltimore and Milwaukee, unconcerned about the livelihoods destroyed or people hurt. Anti-Trump people attacked Trump supporters leading up to last year’s election. Neo-Nazis take to the streets in Charlottesville. Every day someone is offended by something, leading them to make demands of the rest of us. The tolerance we want for ourselves we deny to others. We are increasingly narcissistic and self-contained, and like a spoiled child, we get mean and ugly if we don’t get our way. We are not the kinder, gentler nation envisioned by president Bush.
Yesterday morning I sat reading my Bible and working on a sermon in the breakfast area of the motel, when a couple with their two young boys came in. The boys were about four and five, the parents probably in their early thirties. Both parents were thoroughly engaged with the boys, who were polite, respectful, and mannerly. As they were getting up to leave, I commented to the parents on how well they are raising their boys. They thanked me, and the father gave credit to his wife who is an elementary school teacher, I told him how important his role model is, and his wife spoke of what a fine father he is.
This evening, I have the grandchildren for the night without the benefit of Linda’s calming presence. Gemma wanted me to see the fairy wings and outfit she got for Halloween, insisting that she wear them through the evening. Until Izzi broke her toe, the cousins played kickball in the backyard without even arguing. Alex and Abi will help put them all to bed later. The parents I spoke with yesterday, our grandkids, and even little Gemma tonight, give me hope. In a world of selfishness, evil, and violence, there are people who are determined to do what’s right, swimming upstream against the current. And there are children whose innocence still tugs at our hearts, reminding us of how life can be, if we will receive it with wonder and joy.