There is a lot of ugliness in this world. The bad, painful, and gruesome stuff of life seems to flood one’s soul from every corner. I find it in the newspapers. I am overwhelmed by the news. Every sense is confronted by the harsh realities of life on a daily basis. Pain, death, separation, injuries, and hopelessness are real, tangible, and in one’s face. Desperation is all too real. Walls are hard, tall, and wide. The potholes, snares, and thorns touch the innocent and those less so.
On days when I find myself overwhelmed I close my eyes and find myself staring into the eyes of a child. The child is in Chennai, Singapore, New York, California, and even in the slums most refuse to acknowledge. They have been black, white, clean, and dirty. Against all odds, in spite of the realities which daunt those who care, they carry a twinkle in their eyes and smile for anyone willing to look their way. It is absolutely extraordinary! Hope abounds. It is in these moments I know “at that same time, a fine vineyard will appear. There's something to sing about! [For] I, God, tend it. I keep it well-watered. I keep careful watch over it so that no one can damage it.” (Isaiah 27.2, 3) The body may be damaged. The future may be questioned. Yet God will protect these souls in ways we cannot imagine.
It doesn’t need to end unfinished. As I walk to work I can give a smile of hope to a stressed out family. I can extend a courteous hand to those in need on the subway. I can seek out the best in the people I meet, even when everything tells me it may be hard to find. There are alternatives to war, bitchiness, and anger. We can be a difference in our community. Things begin with you and me.
As a new day with action. As I order my morning coffee I find myself receiving smiles, a best wish, and a gift of hope. I will give these away.
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