Like so many people I have talked to the past few weeks, I am no loner able to sit through a newscast on television or listen to much the media has to say. The violence, unrest, destruction, hatred, mud-slinging, unreasonable demands and lack of truth has caused the tears to flow more than once. It makes me long for the days of my youth when children were taught to respect God, country and family. When a trip to the Five and Dime for a piece of penny candy was the highlight of the month and children could go to school where they said the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, were not afraid to say a prayer before a ballgame or activity and learned about history so they would be less likely to repeat any of the bad stuff. And at home, they learned how to honor parents, work hard for what they wanted and respect everyone regardless of race, religion, social position, monetary assets or disabilities.
It seems like most everyone featured on the news today is in a free-fall state where rational thought has vanished and it's all about personal wants, civil disobedience and the desire to blame others instead of taking personal responsibility for anything. Every time I hear about another Christian value being threatened or taken away it make me feel great pain. I can't understand why anyone would harm someone else or destroy something of value that an individual, congregation or other group has sacrificed to build. And where in the world did all the taking offense to everything come from?
When I get on my knees and talk to my Heavenly Father about my blessings, my desires and my fears, I know he is in charge and things are progressing as prophesy has told from the beginning of this earth's creation. I try to understand how he feels as he watches the children he created go to such lengths to harm and destroy people they have never even met and who are not responsible for what happened in the past. And when I see a church in flames, a family whose business has been destroyed or a dead child being held his or her parent's arms because of some drive-by or intended shooting, I want to rent the air with sobs like people in some cultures do.
I look at the increasing number of earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and plagues of every kind and realize just how close we are to the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. What a glorious time it will be to have Christ reign personally on the earth and have peace restored while Satan and all of his followers are in chains. I look forward to being part of that marvelous experience but am no longer sure I have what it takes experience everything that is coming from the mortal sphere without falling apart myself. My heart is too sensitive, but I have faith in God and know that the silent majority, who believe in the same truths I do, will let their voices be heard and we will not lose everything of value.
That's why I try to look for and remember all the kind acts of love, heroism, unity, courage and faith that have influenced how I want to view life. I'm including one below because it still brings tears whenever I think about it.
My son and daughter-in-law had been through a very trying year. Her diagnosis of Melanoma Lymphoma, the surgery and treatment, along with the loss of the child they hoped to adopt had hit them hard. That was followed by continual worry about how they were going to pay the escalating medical bills on one income. Then my son lost the tip of his finger when it was slammed into the tool box of his truck at work. And there was the diagnosis that my young, adopted granddaughter - the one they hoped would not grow up as an only child - might need hip surgery to correct a genetic condition.
The week before Christmas, my daughter-in-law suffered a rare setback with her cancer treatment that caused her to forget how to read. Tests finally confirmed that it wasn't a stroke or the Melanoma traveling to her brain, but a disconnect commonly known as cancer brain. With proper care, it was believed it would correct itself and not happen again. But life was determined to throw another irritation at them, followed by an unexpected blessing.
The early winter of 2014 began with a news report of an altercation with a white police officer in St. Louis that caused the unfortunate death of a young, blank man. The incident, not unlike what happened a few weeks ago, was fueled by politicians and the media into a scene of carnage and death instead of taking time for the justice system to do its job. Demonstrators took to the streets and left in their path burning, looting, death and destruction of every kind around the community. The fallout headlined the news for months, leaving many people to wonder if the Christmas season would still bring out the Christlike love that was supposed to exist.
The night following my daughter-in-last most recent setback was spent at her parents celebrating a nephew's birthday. When they they returned to their home a few hours later, they discovered that their snowblower had been stolen from their carport. My son's call to the police station brought a lovely, black, female officer to their front door to take their statement. She was more than sympathetic, but assured them that the snowblower would most likely never be recovered. They lived in a poorer section of Layton, Utah where thefts were common due to the number of drug addicts wanting a fix but not having the money to get one.
It was a setback since a major snow storm was expected to hit the area on Christmas Eve, but my son was determined not to let the loss upset the holidays because of the outpouring of love, help and support they had already received from family and friends during the previous months. He knew their resources were limited but decided he was going to do something special anyway. So when he went to the grocery store after work to pick up a few of the things they needed, he purchased a twenty-five dollar gift card and handed it to the person standing behind him, along the wish for a very special Christmas. He didn't immediately tell his wife what he had done, fearing her initial reaction. But he needn't have worried for she had her own story to tell.
The police officer who had taken their statement had returned while he was gone to see if they had been able to find the serial number of the snowblower in case one was recovered. They hadn't, but my daughter-in-law proceeded to tell her that they could live without it because her husband was healthy and strong and could continue shoveling their driveway and sidewalk, along with many of their neighbors on the street, as he had always done. But she'd wanted him to have it because he'd taken over almost every responsibility at home, along with working fulltime, during the months of her recovery. Due to the location of the cancer, her arm wouldn't allow her to do much.
In due time, both of their stories were told, but they were unprepared for what happened the morning before Christmas Day. When my son opened the front door to run a few last minute errands, he saw a different snowblower sitting on the front step with a note attached to it. In part, it said that the giver hoped this gift would add to their day, but to make sure they locked it up security where no one else could steal it.
What tears of joy this Christmas gift from a loving, protector of people's rights brought. This caring police officer who belonged to a profession that had been blasted as undertrained, racists and deserving of whatever they got had chosen to live by a higher law that proclaimed all men, women and children were equal. Her Christlike love, compassion and service will never be forgotten by the family and friends her selfless gift has honored. May her joy be great, her life long, and her thoughtfulness remembered by God above who will always know what is in her heart. And may we be as compassionate and understanding through these unprecedented days of sorrow and unrest as she was back them. That's what living in this country and this world should be all about.