One Person, Big Difference

One Person, Big Difference

There are only a handful of people who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal: Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel…Norman Borlaug. Norman, who? Most of us haven’t heard of Dr. Borlaug, a scientist who is credited with the Green Revolution, a series of plant developments that radically changed farming and grain production all around the world. Borlaug’s dogged pursuit of advances in seeds and planting, led to a planet that knows much less hunger and privation. Dr. Borlaug was a humble man who eschewed publicity; nevertheless, he was acknowledged for his world-altering contributions many times before his death in 2009. Some say that Borlaug saved “a billion lives.”

I especially like to read stories about individuals, like Borlaug, who make a significant difference in the world. It is a source of encouragement when we daily face evil, poverty, and violence. In our discouragement, we find ourselves wanting to throw our hands up in despair. Instead, as I look around to my own family, my friends, my church, and my community, I see that there are many individuals working tirelessly to make the world a better place, unrecognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, but just as deserving, quietly moving mountains one rock at a time.

While we may never be recognized by the world at large, let us persevere in doing what God has called us to as we hear him tell us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9). We know we are not able to change the world, to address the overwhelming problems that face us from the world inside our own heads to the world as seen from space, but let us continue to be faithful to do our small part every day to save the environment, to make peace in our families, to be good stewards, to reach out to those in need. God, in turn, is ever faithful to take what we give and multiply it hundredfold.

Making a Call

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Rom. 12:21

April 16, 2007 was the day of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, a day that lives on in infamy and is forever emblazoned in the minds of those of us who were personally affected. Our oldest son was a freshman student there at that time and when the news came, we were among the thousands of parents who waited anxiously for word that he was okay.

Our anxiety was short lived as he was quickly able to get word out that he was ok and had been in his dorm at the time, but that was not the case for the parents of the thirty two students who lost their lives in that senseless act of violence.

During the days following, our phone continued to ring with family, friends and acquaintances from near and far calling to check in to see if our son was ok. As each call came in, I wrote the name of the caller on our kitchen white board. Slowly, it began to fill up with names until there was no space left to fit even one more caller—and the calls still came. We answered all the calls that we could and were so grateful for the outpouring of love and compassion. Most people didn’t know what to say or how to ask if everything was ok, so they would say things like, “We are praying for you.” We felt enveloped in love and sustained by those prayers.

Our experience made me even more determined to call when tragedy strikes—even if I don’t know what to say. The simple act of calling or sending a note or messaging someone in their time of difficulty, can be the difference between crumpling under the pressure and finding the strength to carry on.

In a world that seems to be suffocating in evil, let us fearlessly continue to be Christ to one another by simply making the contact that spreads a blanket of love and compassion over tragedy.

Dear God, Help me to have the courage to make the call when I need to. Amen.

Slack Line

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For Tim’s birthday, our son, Sam, bought his brother a slack line. If you are younger than 40, you probably know what that is, but if not, then you need to know that it is like a portable tight rope which is approximately the width of a seat belt and when using it, you extend it between trees in the yard, not too far off the ground.

 

During the inaugural crossing of the line, the boys insisted that mom try it out, too. So, like the good adventurer that I am, I did. But I had insurance. On either side, I had a 6 foot plus young man to hold on to! It was so easy—I gracefully glided down that slack line, executed a perfect 180 and got all the way back without missing a beat. THEN, the boys suggested that I let go. Legs shaking, I took a couple of tentative steps before I found firm footing in the grass below.

 

Walking the way of the cross is like that. We do well to gather around us others of faith for support. Walking alone we are shaky at best and prone to fall. Jesus set the example of how important friends are as we journey along the path of life. So as we continue our journey of faith, let us cultivate and deepen those friendships.