When the avalanche struck climbers on K2 recently, every assumption, plan, and contingency was lost. I do not believe that anyone planned to abandon those within their reach, yet there were those that were lost. I doubt anyone anticipated how they would respond in a crisis of this magnitude; great heroes came into view while the pain of lost opportunities will only ease with the passing of time. I can only assume that individuals in each group did his or her best; people paid with their lives because of the mistakes of others.
Extremes tend to bring out the best and worst within us. In times of celebration, the less than the best is often easily forgotten. Most note it as a lost opportunity and move on. It is in the tragedies of life that the strength and true character of one's soul is revealed. When one relives the account of Shackleton in the Antarctic one forgives his weaknesses and failures because of what he revealed as he cared for the lives of the men on the expedition. When one walks in another's path, realizing that “as the rocks rained down, Stephen prayed, 'Master Jesus, take my life,'” (Acts 7.59) one can only stand in admiration. When one realizes that there are those that willingly gave their life for a stranger, one can hear the call of Hope.
Extremes may tell dramatic stories, yet it is in the mundane of the ordinary that we write the great chapters of our lives. Nobody may be watching, yet each decision is one of community or self, compassion or judgment, love or pride. The call of Hope is not to the extreme but to the everyday. Divinity's beacon alerts us to the opportunities in the moment at hand. The Spirit's mentoring focuses on where it matters most, the communities in which we live.
Today dawns, a chapter in our story is waiting to be written. We are the authors. We have the freedom to set the story line. I want to write this chapter with God at my side.
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