Friday, November 18, 2016

The Further Adventures of...Me!

Last week, I made another journey to my home state:  Kansas.  I grew up in the southwest corner of the state, where the horizon is farmland, the people are friendly, and life moves at a slower pace (well, mostly!).  

While I was visiting, the weather was unseasonably warm--record-breaking, actually--and mild.  (The northwest corner of the state has had snow since then!)  I didn't do anything "exciting" by most people's standards.  But I spent quality time with my parents, two of my sisters, and a few of my nieces and my nephew.  I reconnected with friends and church family from my formative years.  I breathed fresh Kansas air and saw AMAZING views of the harvest moon over the cornfields.  I saw cotton fields for the first time in my life. Yeah, it was a great trip.

On my journey west, I experienced one of the best Veteran's Days ever.  At every point of my journey, we were applauding the veterans in our midst.  The airline (Delta--giving credit where credit is due) handed out blue and red wrapped chocolates at the end of each flight to honor the veterans.  A group of young sailors, who were about to board their flight, were surrounded by well-wishers and words of thanks for their willingness to serve.  My lunch at Popeye's was shared with a Vietnam Vet from Arkansas.  It was awesome!

I also witnessed the kindness of Americans toward one another.  A young mom was traveling with her 8 month old son to visit relatives.  As she was navigating the first airport, she realized she had forgotten her son's pacifier.  A complete stranger, who happened to have a brand-new one in her diaper bag, offered it to this young woman.  The gentleman sitting next to her on our flight took over the role of "grandpa" so she could attend to her son's needs.  Every time the pacifier hit the floor, the stewardesses were there in a moment to rinse it.  Then someone on the flight produced a lanyard.  Three adults (including myself) figured out a way to hook it to the pacifier, so that mommy wouldn't have to keep searching the floor for it.  There was applause for successful moments and laughter at the sweet little guy's antics.  We became a family on that flight.  When we began to disembark, all those seated near her were helping to gather blankets, etc.  People of every size, shape, and color united to keep a baby happy for 1 1/2 hours.  It was beautiful!

On my next flight, I sat next to a gentleman from New Jersey, who was on his way to join in the beginning of pheasant season in Kansas.  "I'm going to a place called 'Greensburg'.  Have you ever heard of it?"  I laughed.  "Yes!  That's where I'm going, too!"  He peppered me with questions, and entertained me and our seatmate with his hunting stories.  I hope he had fun.  It was a hoot!

On my return yesterday, I had a brand new experience. I met a family of immigrants.  In the interest of their safety and privacy, I cannot tell you their names, their country of origin, or their destination.  What I can tell you is that I was drawn to them.  Imagine for a moment needing to uproot your entire family from the only home they have ever known, and having to trust complete strangers for safe passage to a new country...only to be surrounded by people whose language you cannot understand and whose customs are totally other than anything you have ever known.  A busy airport.  Tired children.  I did my best to converse with them (thank you, Google Translate!) and express American hospitality to these newcomers.  I hope I was successful.  My prayers are with them as they begin their new life here and that the adjustments to our country will be aided by loving, caring people.  It was life-changing for me!

My heart is full.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

That "One Thing"

So now that it is Election Day in the United States of America, I am finally posting about this several months' long experience we call "the process."  (If you're like me, you may feel as if you've been put through a food processor!  We're put in, a little at a time, and then the large "whirrrrrrr" and we're chopped, processed, and totally mixed up!)

I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum, as well as a few in the middle.  I consider myself conservative, but have been known to cast a few ballots for "the other side" in my day.

Some people wonder what is the big deal, anyway?  After all, as long as we have someone in the White House who will take charge and keep things running along, it will all pan out, right?

Others have asked me why so many conservative Christians seem to focus on a one-issue paradigm.  Thus, this article.

Because honestly, it really is a one-issue election for me.  I can sum it up in one word:  LIFE.

Then come the accusations of only caring for babies, and not being concerned about women, and so many other issues, such as social justice; equal rights for all genders, races, belief systems, etc.; immigration policies; the death penalty; reproductive rights; health care; international affairs; and the list goes on.

I offer this to you, though.  If we do not base our vote on LIFE, how do the other issues matter?  If a child is not given the chance to live, then the story is over.  No need for social justice, because he/she is dead.  No need for equal rights, because their life has ended.  If we do not care about LIFE, then no other position has any credence.  If we do not care about helping someone live the end of their life in a loving, caring environment, anything else we have done throughout their life is senseless.  If people only have value when they are contributing to society, then why bother with health care?  If we do not place importance on caring for those with physical disabilities or mental issues, what good are equal rights?  Are those rights only for the "elite, acceptable" people in our population?

If we begin with LIFE, then all the other issues will flow out of that.


15 “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God[a] which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. 17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
                                                                        Deuteronomy 30:15-20