Let the Halos of Angels Prevail

As reported in the news this week, folks are preparing for the holidays earlier than in previous years. This information should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Most of us are searching for a bit of glitter and sparkle to emerge from the darkness of 2020.   Hate, bitterness, sickness, discord, and suffering have dominated our lives for so long, it seems as if the love and merriment of the holidays occurred years ago instead of months.

People are longing to return to some semblance of normalcy.  Most of us pray for the healing of our land, divisions to be mended, and kindness to regain a foothold in America.   Every God-loving person should actively participate in the building of love to conquer evil.  Our prayers need to be supported by our actions.

 I have an idea that will make the devil angrier, but I truly see so much of him lately that I notice horns everywhere!

Entrenched in a battle

We are entrenched in a battle of good versus evil.  There is no military branch, political leaders, or groups fighting this war for us.  This battle is waged by each individual person who must wear armor constructed of goodness while holding on to the hands of God.

My friend, Bonnie, broke her foot years ago.  Physically active, Bonnie never twiddles her thumbs, so the idea of taking months to heal was daunting.   As she studied her aching foot, an idea started to form.  She pulled out her sewing machine and made an apron.  Then she made another.  By the time her foot healed, she had enlisted others to create items to be given to those in need.  Bonnie even taught one of her friends how to sew! This small circle of pals made enough clothes and aprons to raise over $20,000 to be given to children’s and women’s charities. Bonnie took a challenging time and turned it into serving God by producing delight for many others.

That is the meaning of goodness.  Charity is benevolent goodwill toward humanity.  This 2020 holiday season let us put charity on the front burner.  It is time to mend our division with altruism and kindness.  There is no other way to stop the widening gap of hatred.

Multitudes need us

 Multitudes of people require help and hope now.  Children who have lost parents, parents who have lost income, and grandparents struggling with loneliness need us.  It is time for those who are well, safe, and have more than enough to openly give to others.

If you do not have the financial resources to give, can you sew, knit, create cards, or spare cans of food?  Our charity is not measured by dollars and cents; it is measured by our hearts’ generosity.  Today we should show that kindness reigns and that halos shine brighter than horns.

When my children were elementary age, I was cleaning out our closets near Christmas.  As a family, we struggled from paycheck to paycheck, but we never felt impoverished.   The weather had turned bitter cold that year, and as I piled up outgrown coats and sweaters, I questioned why I had kept them so long.  I was guilty of being too busy with my warm life to think of those struggling in the cold.

This is the year we should put others before ourselves.  This is the Thanksgiving to make sure others are fed.  This is the Christmas that we buy less for ourselves and more for those who cannot spare any expense.  This is the year to honor Christ, who is God’s greatest gift to us.  

Brighten the soul of our country

Charity is not just writing a check, even though that is good!  Charity is taking the time to envision a smile on a child’s face when an unexpected Santa arrives with a gift.   Love for humanity is caring enough for a stranger to sew them an apron or hand them a new coat.

When we are ordering a toy for our grandchild, let us order two. If we are we are at the grocery purchasing peanut butter, why not buy three?   When we ask our children what they want for Christmas, question what they would like to give another less fortunate child?    We can bring goodwill to others one little gift at a time.

When we light up the holidays with our kindness and presents for others, we will not only feel better but brighten the soul of our country.  The divide will become smaller, and hatred will not prevail.

 When Christ was born on a dark night years ago, an army of angels illuminated the sky proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace goodwill toward men.”  Luke 2:14

Perhaps, it is time to hear their words again.

The Pink Sunsets of October

When I sat in the dental hygienist chair last week, she attached what I call the “bib” around my neck as they all do.  The paper bib was adorned with a pattern of pink breast cancer ribbons scattered across its surface.

I have been so consumed with worry over COVID, fires raging throughout the west coast, political upheaval, and protest, the pink ribbon suddenly startled me.  My mind flew back to an October nine years ago, when my daughter celebrated her 38th birthday. 

The family trip was planned to coincide with her big day.  All of us gathered at the beach where we rented a house to accommodate a slew of folks.  On my desk is a photograph of my child hugging her six-year-old daughter as the coastal sunset threw a pink cast across the beach behind them.    It is one of my favorite pictures taken that October evening, but it comes with a story like many snapshots.

My heart jumped with fear

Earlier that day, shortly before the photograph was taken, I strolled into the bathroom, where my daughter had just washed her hair.  As we chatted, I noticed strands of blond hair laying over a good portion of the cold white tile.   My heart jumped with alarm as I grabbed a cloth to clean them up. 

“Guess it’s time to get my head shaved, Mom.”  She announced with such resolute calm, the lump in my throat disappeared.   “Unless you want to keep cleaning this mess up, I would say you are right!”  We both laughed a bit, but to this day, I still get a lump in my throat when I recall that day.  

When I see pink ribbons, a jar for donations at the convenience store, football players wearing October pink, or anyone who is the throes of chemotherapy, the heartache is just beneath the surface of my soul.   For me, it is a reminder of a disease that attempted to take my precious child from all of us. 

The old saying that is true

There is an old saying that pretty much applies to many life events, “You don’t know anything about it until you have lived through it.”  The ‘it’ can be a disease, poverty, hunger, or racism.  The ‘it’ can be what it is like to lose your home to a fire or a hurricane, lose your loved one to suicide, or lose your job because of a killing virus.

Until then, I certainly never knew what breast cancer can do to a family other than what I read.  I did not understand the despair, the uncertainty, or the raw courage required to withstand such pain.  I watched as my daughter underwent a year of physically struggling and fighting to return to wellness.   Yes, we do not understand until we have lived through it. 

It has been nine years, but I still remember the medical teams, the doctors, and nurses who compassionately walked with us through 2011 and 2012.  I vividly see the chemo room where women gathered with their magazines as they watched chemicals slowly flow into their bodies.  It was as if they were casually sitting under a hairdryer at the salon.   The scene belies the fatigue and desperation that are hidden behind their masks of raw, unadulterated bravery.  I was astounded at their sisterhood, their spirit, and determination.

No, unless you have been through it, you do not understand.  Nor would anyone who has experienced such grief want you to.   However, we must recognize that we need to acquire empathy even though we may not personally endure such hardship.  It is compassion for others, the gifts to others, the desire to aid another, is what will heal us all.

Bringing hope home

There are so many who are living through extreme heartache this year.  Breast cancer and other cancers will continue to claim lives, and so will coronavirus, fires, illnesses, accidents, and violence.  Those families who are grieving and struggling to survive, trust me, need our help in prayers, donations, and tangible aid.

My adopted hometown in Georgia is like most of small-town America.  They are reeling from dropped income because of the pandemic and watch as their friends and family suffer.  Yet, LaGrange citizens still wrap the town square with a vibrant pink ribbon around its perimeter.  The large fountain in the middle cascades ribbons of pink water that arcs into a pool of rose.  It is a wonderful sight to behold, bringing hope home.  Storefronts attach pink ribbons on their doors because there is compassion for breast cancer victims.  Theirs is a reminder to all that the “it” can still happen to those who once simply did not understand.

Many diseases have no cures, but donations and prayers get us closer to one every day.  Give what you can to those who are living only to see a beautiful pink sunset once more.

WELCOME!

Welcome to my new site! Here you will find stories, both old favorites and new ones which I will change often. I will also write a post when something strikes me or I need to share important news.

You can send me a note, a question, or a request. I would love to hear from you!

In the meantime, keep reading, be inspiring, and change the world with kindness.

Blessings,

Lynn

Where did God go?

As the leaves begin to pale and clutter the ground, I am reminded of my childhood days of fall.  In the Tennessee hills, there were plenty of leaves around by October.  No matter how much Dad would rake, gathering leaves into piles, the yard was never cleared.  Plus, my friends and I raced and jumped into those mounds of color as he grumbled his way through the chore.

Once the trees were bare, we all knew the holidays were just around the corner.  Mom would start planning early, as I do today. I noticed she spent more time at her sewing machine and studying recipes. There was a sense of anticipation when the cool air became cold, and kids everywhere prayed for the first “big Tennessee snowstorm.”

Now, as I watch a leaf fall to the ground, I realize it is the simple pleasures we once enjoyed that captured our hearts.  Those life’s little joyous moments fill our minds with a longing, a desire to return to a time when it seemed safe, carefree, and filled with wonder.

Challenging times

This fall, perhaps it is good for us to just be still and watch with fascination as a leaf falls to the ground.  We are living in challenging times filled with uncertainty and angst.  200,000 people will not be joining us this fall.  There will be empty seats around tables at Thanksgiving and no Christmas gifts for many who have lost their businesses, jobs, or homes. 

This fall, I find sadness in every corner and anger rising to a new level.  We are consumed with politics.  We cannot make a cup of coffee without it becoming political.  And, we can ostracize a friend if they disagree with our view on issues.  There is not another time in my life that I have witnessed such a prevailing spirit.

As a people, we are dealing with so many complicated, controversial problems at one time; it is overwhelming.  They can overtake our spirit,  cloud our perspective, and diminish our faith.  We may ask, “ Where in the world did God go?” 

Have we lost our way?

The truth is God has not gone anywhere, but perhaps we have.  Have we lost our way with our sorrow, our hopelessness, our anger, and let the state of America today cloud our lives?  Has our spirit fallen like the faded leaf that wearily falls to the ground?

I would say the answer is, “Yes, we have.”  The only true healer of our spirit is our spirit.  Our relationship with the Almighty is what will motivate us to mentally recover.  Perhaps, God is reminding us that He alone is in charge and is watching how we handle diversity and a complex, contentious fall.

Folks worry and fret, but forget the word of the gospel, “Do not fear, I am with you.”   Our brothers and sisters spew hate and spread evil like wildfire, but forget the gospel’s greatest commandment:  “Love one another as I love you.”

God has not gone anywhere.  Perhaps he is watching us as we turn away from Him.  We will not recover if we do not turn around.  Faith is the most essential medicine we have.  It is not found just in words, or our sermons, but in our individual actions.

Return to joyous days

Today, as my own spirit wanes, I recall those days when Daddy raked the yard, and Mama sewed my Halloween costume.   I believe we can return to those joyous times, but only if we turn toward God so that our deeds will be filled with godliness.  Empathy, kindness, love, goodness, and faith are the medicines we must take prescribed by our greatest Healer.

We must never forget that we cannot outsmart God.  We are not that intelligent; we are not that righteous. We are merely just mortal humans. God is not the President, not a Congressman or a Superior Court judge, but He alone is the supreme being who will decide our fate.

Yes, God is still in the yard, but just blurred under the leaves a bit.  He is still the one who will be thanked at Thanksgiving, and of course, Christmas is His celebration.  Let’s honor him with our actions, and maybe, just maybe, we heal our hearts and our country when we do.

Take a moment and notice a leaf cascading to the ground.  Because the wonder of life is found in such simplicity.

The Divine Blessing of Friendship

Several columns ago, I wrote a story regarding the “Healing Power of a Homemade Pie.”   This little story about pie seemed to travel from coast to coast, and when it did, it blessed me with new friends.

The original idea for the story came from a cartoon in the Atlanta Journal’s Sunday comics section.  “Stone Soup” by Jan Eliot was one of my favorite strips because her stories always centered around family and their lives’ funny situations, which often paralleled mine.

After the story went national, I wrote Ms. Eliot to think her for the inspiration.   She lives in Oregon, and before long, we began emailing one another and realized how we did indeed have similar lives.  From one coast to another, sight unseen, voices unheard, a friendship blossomed.

Friendship is priceless.  It has nothing to do with anything but the heart.   Heck, you do not even need to see a person if you are connected by the thread of kindness, commonality, concern, and prayer.

Our first friends

By the time we are a little older than a toddler, we realize quickly that friends are a necessary component of living.  I recall several friends in first grade.  Even though I moved to another town by third grade, I occasionally think about them.  They are never further away than a memory.

Friendships heal and support us every day.   What would we do without the gift of a friend?  What would we do without that shoulder to cry on or that honest advice we might need? 

To this day, I still have close friends from high school.  And, trust me, an abundance of days have passed since high school!  One of my dearest friends can call or text me, and even though I have not seen them in a while, I know by the sound of their voice if they are ok or not.  It is that connection that if you take care of it, it will never break.

I believe friends are divinely placed on our life paths.  It is as if God pulls out his big map, places cars on the same road as ours so that we can bump into one another.   How many people have you met in your life that you felt were placed in your world?  I bet a bundle.

A new southern friend

When my husband and I married, we moved into a house on a corner.  One day I noticed the woman who lived behind us watering her plants in the front yard.  I had met her but knew little about Deborah. 

My husband teases me often about my choice of words and phrases.  They are so southern he sometimes does not understand what I mean.  He noticed me talking to Deborah and walked over to join the conversation. 

After a few minutes, David asked, “Deborah, what do you call that thing you are watering your plants with?”  Of course, he knew it to be a hose, but she answered with certainty, “Well, it’s a hosepipe!”

David then questioned, “Deborah, what do you call the leather thing in my back pocket that holds the money?”  “Well, that’s a billfold!”

“See, she is absolutely correct!  Hose are something you wear on your legs, and you fold a bill to get it in that thing you call a wallet!” I quickly chimed in with a “see there” attitude.

After that, these two southern girls have been as sisters for fifteen years.   God plopped me down on the corner next to the angel who has saved me more times than I can count.  Plus, I did not even need to get in the car!

During this time of uncertainty and loneliness, it is the loss of hugs and the inability to see our friends that causes heartache.  Friendship is needed now more than ever.  Forget our differences in politics, or viewpoints, because friends are far more essential and divine.

The colorful ribbons

I wrote at the beginning of a chapter in my book this little opening:

“Friends are bonus gifts from God.  Whether you know a friend for a day, for a few years, or for a lifetime, they are all blessings.  

When rain falls in our lives, our pals try to find the sun.  When an embrace, or an ear, or a pat on the back is needed, they provide.

Friends are the angels who give us wings to fly, laughter to fill our hearts, and comfort to warm our souls.

They are the colorful ribbons of love. “

Call a friend today, or bake them a pie, and find yourself blessed. 

Do you hear the timer ticking?

There comes a time when one realizes with certainty that there is a timer on life. I can’t tell you exactly when you’ll start to hear it ticking, but be grateful when you do.

We all come face to face with our mortality. My brother died at a relatively young age from a terminal illness. Like many, he bravely accepted his limited time. John knew what he wanted to do in the months remaining of his life. He was an engineer with a list of everything. John worked hard to complete his tasks and leave this earth to see what was happening on around the bend.

The longer we live, we slowly come to accept that we all have a list to complete, people we need to see, and things we need to say.

Seeing the clock

Dan recently suffered a heart attack. Richie is recovering from cancer. Whit had a devastating fall a few years back but, thankfully, survived. Patsy passed away before our last reunion. All of these great folks graduated with me from high school over fifty years ago.

I could keep telling you about friends who barely survived an illness or an accident and those that did not, but the pages are just not long enough. The older we become, the more we notice the timer as it clicks closer to zero.

Now, that all sounds dour and full of doom, right? Well, maybe, it is all in how we look at it.

I like the timer. I am glad I see it, hear it, and realize that I need to live fully in the seconds that pass.

When I was in high school with Dan, Rich, Whit, and Patsy, I never saw the life clock. Time was infinite in my mind. When several friends sadly died early in life, I would pause and ponder my mortality. Then life would return to the busy mode, and the sound of the ticking clock would fade away.

As time passes, the more we long to see the precious people who have taken up time in our lives. There is an intense desire to share with those we love the depth of that love and how important it is to us.

Seasons of life

The seasons of our lives bring changes. I wish I could spend more time with my children now that I have a bit more freedom to do so. However, they are in the busy season of life. Their timers are hidden somewhere under the clutter in their kitchens. They cannot hear the ticking because of the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. I understand because I was once in that season.

I now understand my mother when she repeatedly asks, “Are you coming over today?” It was her longing to spend more time with her daughter because there was no longer clutter in her kitchen, and she could hear the clocks sweeping hands.

My brother yearned to find his buddies from school, lost cousins, shipmates from his destroyer in Viet Nam, and to spend his last days seeing the faces of his family.

When my son lay on a gurney with a broken neck, he held my hand and urgently told me his wishes as he quickly orated a will. He saw the clock as the second hand moved at a rapid pace. Thankfully, God intervened and gave Corey more time.

Rapid movement of life

Life itself is a rapid movement. We often take it and the folks who are a part of our lives for granted. As we age, we face the quantity of time we have left; we realize how valuable each second, each day, each person, each breath is.

I recall, as if yesterday, watching Dan laugh heartily at a joke at lunch. I know it was only last week when Richie got me tickled in Latin class. Wasn’t it just the other day that Whit was snickering about something crazy I did – again?! Did I not recently see Patsy carrying her books and smiling at me as she strolled into class?

Isn’t it today that I find those folks and my memories of them even more precious?

Yes, I am happy to hear the timer. I understand the noises that are important in life. I joyfully listen to the laughter of a child. I hear God’s whispers more often and see fortune as a miracle and a coincidence as divine.

Yes, I need to check the time, complete my list, hug those I love with passion, and do so before I continue my journey on around the bend.

Someone Other than Me

As many of you know who read my columns, I was diagnosed with clinical depression many years ago.   My doctor treated me with therapy and counseling for over twenty years until one pill a day entered my life and saved it.  I was one of the lucky ones. 

My depression began when I was in third grade.  I wanted to be the girl with the shiny blond curls seated next to me instead of me.   She was smart, pretty, and happy.  She was only the first of many who I longed to become.   I was never comfortable or liked being me.  If someone teased me, I cried for days.  If a bully was mistreating someone else, I cried for them.  When I failed at anything, it was because I was a complete failure.    

Suicide entered my mind many times, and at one point, I attempted it.  I am brutally honest here because there is no reason not to be.  Becoming transparent is how we help those who suffer and who wish they were anyone else but themselves.  Depression creates pure hopelessness, and life is viewed behind a veil of sorrow and gloom.

Multitudes are suffering

Today, multitudes are hurting.  Because of the pandemic, daily doses of death, isolation, loss of income, and normality, play mental havoc with all of us.  The predictions for suicide, depression, and anxiety are roiling.   No one is immune from the sadness of this year.  The virus has brought with it the harshest of stings, and its poison is affecting us all. 

However, for those who are already enduring depression, it is far worse.  The other day, the blue depression monster jumped in front of my computer.  I was preparing to write my column when as I stared at the blank page, my first thought was, “Why?” 

Why was I writing?  The world is sick and angry.  Pessimism has risen to a new level, and those hard-headed political name-calling divisive folks are driving me crazy!  When I go into a store that requires safety protocols and notice a customer stroll by with no mask, who seems to not care about others, they cause me to question the world’s fate.  So why write?  It is hopeless.  Why talk about the kindness and goodness of God?  It is hopeless.  Why do I write about love when such selfish hate seems rampant?  Why?

The magic wand

I wrote one of my editors a note, “Is it time for me to put the pen down?”   Then, as if a magic wand were waved, a reader emailed me after reading a recent column, “Keep writing and being the voice of love and peace.  You are deeply appreciated.”   A stranger who had no idea I was ready to quit.  

The blue monster faded away, words formed on the blank screen, and the hand of God calmed my soul.  Once we recognize our purpose, were made for a reason, we become what our creator intended us to be.  Hopelessness fades to bravery, death fades to living, and we accept who we are and why. 

When we deliver unselfish, caring behavior to others, we become instruments of service to all. For those who watch the world through the fog of depression and only hear the angry and judgmental voices, they lose confidence in living.   God really does want us to care about the people we share this earth with.  He knows those who grieve and calls on all of us to render aid. 

Helping others

Everything we do is visible.  When we promote negativity, we damage.  We whisper, judge, and wonder why folks would die by their own hand.  Yet, we never ask ourselves if we had a hand in their death by taking away their faith in mankind?  Has our self-indulgence enabled us to not hear the cries of those who have experienced profound loss due to the pandemic?  Are we guilty of spreading doubt, hopelessness, pessimism, or rage? 

For those of you who are suffering, who would rather be anyone else but you, I urge you to hear my words:  There is no one better than you.  Each person was made by God to fulfill a mission.  Today, you may not know what yours is, but one day it will become crystal clear.  Do not buy into the world’s bullies, the naysayers, the name-callers because they no nothing except hurt.  You must never believe there are not good, decent, folks bearing kindness, compassion, and love because there are.  These are the folks who heed God’s explicit instruction to “love one another.”

Do I wish I were someone else today?  Some days I do, but I also realize if I were someone else, I might not then be strong enough to fight for those who want to be someone other than their valuable selves.

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:  1-800-273-8255

There is a Time for Everything

Boy, today, it is difficult to write words of hope, peace, and love.  As I sit at my desk this morning to start my column, I am a bit bewildered at the complexities I see surrounding our lives.  I look one way and watch folks helping one another, whether in hospitals, food distribution lines, or contributing to their neighbor’s welfare in countless ways.   I glance the other way and notice people ignoring solutions for the coronavirus pandemic in favor of self-gratification and political posturing.

Now is not the time to kill, it is the time to heal. 

Hate and love residing side by side in a battle for survival.  The harsh noise of anger rises above the quiet tone of love.   Some spread fear through bogus conspiracy theories.  And then others, destroy the possibility of productive social change by promoting violence and destruction.   People often judge all by the acts of a few and others who would rather have war than call a truce.

This is not the time for war, it is the time for peace.

Some say that is just the way life is, but our lives today are so tragically complicated.  Perhaps, now is not the time to accept life as it always has been.  We are struggling both physically, mentally, and financially.   Love must beat the hate, which is critically essential for our survival.

There is a time to hate, but now is the time to love.

A time to gather

At this moment, people of all races need to erase color and simply survive the pandemic. We must do better, and now is the time.  Why do we keep adding to our burdens?  Why not offer a helping hand to those who desperately need us?   Isn’t that the basis of Christian faith and belief? 

There should be one fight right now.  There is a time for all things, but today, our priority is to heal our land from a killing giant.   It will take every single human being, no matter your ethnicity, age, or gender, to do so.  

There is a time for casting stones, but not today, today we should gather them.

People are waiting for the magic potion of a vaccine overlooking the 157,000 people who have died in our country.  Many more will die before a miracle is shipped.  Until then, all we have is each other.  All we can do is be mindful of another, pray, and protect those we love.  Hate is a violent, radical action.  Love is far more powerful, if only we enact it.

There is a time to break down, but now is the time to build up.

I recall a scene when Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston in 2017.  Its residents were attempting to escape the rushing waters flowing down their streets.   An elderly white man lost his footing, and immediately a black hand reached down to pull the grateful man to safety.   

When we are in dire conditions, color is flooded away, hate is drowned, and we survive because of caring for one another.  Hurricane COVID floods our streets, our lives, and our livelihood.   It is time to join hands and stand firm against the forceful destruction of this windless hurricane and simply endure.

There is a time to refrain from embracing, but today is the time to embrace using our hearts.

A time to be wise

There is a time to be born and a time to die.  I have no idea if I will survive the wrath of this pandemic, and neither do you.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring.  Do we want to fill our days with spreading hatred, demeaning each other, or do we want to rise to the occasion and be inspired by God’s word to help one another?  Who are we?  Why are we here?  Are we given life to promote God’s grace and goodness, or are we given life to fuel the flames of hell?  

At some point, we all become accountable, and if we don’t want swarms of locusts to fly in our backyard, those earthquakes to destroy our land, and our evil to overcome us, then we better beat the hate before our time is up.

As wise Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes: “To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Today is the day to give compassion, hope, and inspiration to everyone living under the heavens.  We can beat hate and a virus if we understand that time is a gift from God.  Today let us all use it wisely.

Is Division our real Enemy?

The coronavirus has infiltrated America, causing death, sickness, and fear for most of 2020.   Today tropical storms are brewing in oceans waiting to land on the shores of this country.  Currently, tensions are reaching a fever pitch between ethnicities.  Gun violence and suicides are on the rise.  Tomorrow more businesses will permanently shutter, and children everywhere need and want to return to school.

Most of us believe those are our worst problems.  They are all catastrophic, and we individually have different ideas about how to solve each one.  However, I consider the common denominator of all our woes is one seemingly benign word called “division.”  

At the beginning of the pandemic, we were all torn as to what to do.  We were warned if we did not ALL follow preventative measures, the virus would consume us.   After a while, and once the scientific community learned more about the virus, the political mask and social distancing debate raged.  

Was it our “right” to not wear a mask, or were we doing the “right” thing for others?  State governments following political party adherence instead of medical advice produced more anger in their communities.  Therefore, we are now sicker, now in more financial stress, and selfishly claiming and blaming someone else caused it all.  Therefore, is it not division who is the killer?

Who are the villains?

A social media post claimed, “The coronavirus is just a political stunt perpetrated by liberals.”  “The yearly flu causes more death than this virus!” It continued to profess.  Of course, if the writer had delved into facts, they would find that one sentence, among others, was simply untrue.   COVID is far deadlier.   Creating divisions spread by untruths and lies are as fatal as a killing virus.  So, who are the villains?

The race issue is heartbreakingly profound, and we ALL need to reform our hearts and minds.  How many times do we ignore our Christian teaching and profess our disdain for our fellow men?  Will this divide ever heal? It will not until we are unified in the belief that all of us are equal in God’s eyes.

The divisions between liberals and conservatives or all ethnicities will be the very thing that will destroy our nation.  Where are the moderate views of reason?  The voices of the middle, who lean neither to the far left or far right,  need to be heard.  Where are the leaders who can listen to all sides and make the best plans to create growth?  Where are the leaders who believe change is possible without violence?  Are they no more?

Our top priority in the United States is to get well.  Return our children to schools.  It is not going to bars, going to parties, or going to the gym, but putting our children first and do what is best for them.  Could we possibly spend our energy, not on conspiracy theories, or blaspheming a political opponent, but show a new generation how to behave and prosper?  

If I could take all those taking sides and sideline them, I would. Our factions are destroying friendships and families, hurting our hope and faith. Murders and suicides are on the rise, and we wonder why?  Because seething anger is amok.  It runs rampant in backyards and city streets because of our need to be right, our selfishness, our frustrations, and our lack of compassion.

Love our country

Please, for the love of this country and our children, do not spread hatred, put away the nastiness, and let us thrive…. Together.  

If we lose our democracy, it is not because of a virus, or a storm, or any politician. Our demise will be because we ALL divided this country into nothing but pieces to be tossed into the trash, and there were no voices of reason to stop it.

I have spent the better part of five years begging in words for folks to end the spread of untruths and hatred, stop calling people names, keep faith alive, become better than we are, and give our children a chance to see authentic human dignity.

Maybe my words are trivial to some, but I choose to show my patriotism for this land using unification words rather than words of division.  Simply, because I believe in these words of our Lord,

  “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:25

THE HEALING POWER OF A HOMEMADE PIE

Comic strips often entertain us with not only a funny moment but occasionally the cartoonist will introduce a bit of insight within their colorful panels. Such was the case when Jan Eliot provided such wisdom in her comic strip called, “Stone Soup.”

One of the characters is Alix, a nine-year-old precocious girl who is sitting at the kitchen table watching her Grandmother rolling the dough for a homemade pie.

Alix asks, “Gramma, why do you like to make pies so much?”

Her Gramma explains that when she was a young mother, they did not have much money, but she and her husband had an orchard abundant with pears, apples, and peaches. So, when they could afford only rice and beans for dinner, what lifted the spirits of her family, was a delicious homemade pie for dessert.

After hearing her Gramma’s explanation, Alix replies, “In other words… before Prozac, there was pie.”

Gramma ends the story with this statement, “That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!!”

Growing up, I recall my Grandmother making pies to deliver to folks who were physically ailing or mentally going through a difficult time. She regularly baked my brother his favorite chocolate pie and would always make a blackberry cobbler for my mother when the berries were in season. I don’t think I ever visited her when she didn’t bake a pie out of love or compassion for someone.

I remember one summer day, my grandmother’s friend, Mrs. Harris, was ill. First thing on a Saturday morning, we visited Mrs. Harris bearing an apple pie full of concern and affection. Before we left, Mrs. Harris was giggling with her friend before hugging me goodbye.

The tradition of pie giving was passed down from those ancestors who resided in the Southern hills to hearts who needed a pie’s restorative power. Aunts, mothers. grandmothers, a few uncles, and even some grandpas inherited the gift of producing a mouthful of joy. My Granddaddy couldn’t make a pie, but he sure could mend a mortal soul with his homemade peanut brittle.

My mom could roll out the best pie crust on the planet. Plus, she had the artistic talent to create the perfect lattice top over her delicious fruit pies. She would serve them warm with a dollop of ice cream. Mom could dry tears and melt hearts with her delicious creations. I once dubbed her the “Queen of Pies,” and to this day, I believe she undoubtedly was.

Friends and family frequently question me, “Lynn, why do you insist on baking homemade desserts? You can go to Publix and get a great pie or cake and not have to go through the trouble!”

My answer is the same, “It’s not the same!”

Generosity, compassion, and joy are only found in the work you go through to create them. Not everyone knows how to bake a pie, but they sure know how to gather flowers, write a sweet note, or hold a hand. When we use extra energy to lift another’s spirit, whether it is through baking a pie or going for a visit, we deliver healing. When we go to the trouble to love, we give hate trouble.

Our world is a busy place where texting emoji hearts, sad or smiling faces, makes it simple to share our emotions. We are “convenient” happy. Whatever makes our lives easier is becoming the norm. However, our days will become more comfortable only when our society becomes a less hateful place.

A peaceful world can exist only through loving each other enough to create a pie made of sincere compassion, prayer, and understanding. Comforting another is not about easy, it is about sacrifice and empathy. There is no emoji in the technological world that shows the recipe for genuine kindness.

“Before Prozac, there was pie,” Alix declared. I suffer from clinical depression, and I understand needing medications for this illness. However, if my family and friends had been too busy to hug me, pray with me, or cook my kids’ dinner through some of those wicked dark hours, would I have made it? When those compassionate souls took the time to physically aid me, they helped me see a sunny day was on the horizon.

“That’s what’s wrong with everyone! Not enough pie!” Gramma happily tells her grandchildren as she holds her beautiful baked pie above her head. What if we brought a homemade pie of kindness to the table of hate and calmed anger with a dose of warmed goodness?

Then our Grandchildren would learn just like I did from my Grandmother; when we take the time to create love, we might just witness healing our hurts one pie at a time.