This weekend, I piled all four kiddos plus our little dog, Chiquita, and drove a couple of hours to nearby Springfield, MO to meet with Pastor Loma from Congo. He flew to the US at the last minute in order to escort an adopted child home to his family. Even though Dave was out of town, I really wanted to meet Pastor Loma and learn more about the work he is doing to care for the orphaned and abandoned children of his country.
While we met, along with two other families, a friend of the host watched our (combined, eleven) kids. She volunteered her time and energy in order to ensure we could listen intently and have uninterrupted discussion. And, our kids could have fun playing and not being asked to simple sit quietly while the adults met.
She selflessly loved in a very tangible way.
The next morning, I rounded up all of my little people + Chiquita + luggage + cooler + floaties from the pool + the case of markers Ben insisted on packing + blankets and pillows and stuffed animals. We made our way to the front door of the hotel, ready to head home. Then, we faced the spinning turnstile (I’m not even sure that’s what it’s called, but you get the idea) door.
Y’all. I’m not even kidding when I say we were a SPECTACLE. My “bigs” went into the turnstile and started making their way around. They couldn’t figure out how to actually exit and just kept going ’round and ’round. Meanwhile, Charlotte insisted on holding Chiquita’s leash (which seemed like a good idea since my hands were full). Charlotte entered the turnstile beside me, yet Chiquita panicked and ran in the other direction. Charlotte then turned to exit. I was out of reach of the doorway and unable to stop the door from continuing to spin. Her arm was going to be smashed.
Out of nowhere, a lady came running and threw herself into the spinning door while another woman lodged her body under her in order to stop the door. Charlotte escaped and Chiquita ran into the hotel lobby. Another stranger picked Chiquita up and carried her over to me.
The ladies all helped my other three exit the spinning door (they were still in there, unsure of what to do) and held the door for us all to exit safely.
This may seem incredibly insignificant and quite hilarious, yet, I saw it. I saw the way three strangers came to the rescue of a frazzled momma. They could have stood by and done nothing to help. They could have shrugged and lamented, “she chose to have that many kids, she can deal with them.” They could have laughed and turned the other way. But, they didn’t. They helped me. They were selfless. They ran across a hotel lobby and threw themselves into a revolving door for a stranger.
Do you see it too? Do you see the goodness?
Maybe you, like me, need the reminder right now that people are still good.
I certainly need extra helpings of goodness.
I certainly need less hatred and anger and judgement.
I certainly need more compassion and kindness and mercy.
I certainly need less shouting and pointing fingers and bitterness.
I certainly need more love, tangible sacrifice and intentional goodness.
Let’s start a revolution, friends.
In the face of hate and fear and dread, let’s rise up and be peacemakers. This is our time to stand against evil and combat it with good. We are not here by chance, my friends. We were created, placed in this time in history, in this country for a purpose. For such a time as this. This is our time. To shine light into the darkness.
God gave me the word LIGHT at the start of 2016. I wasn’t fully aware of what He meant with that word. I’d heard it whispered and brought it to mind many times over the past several years. On January 1, 2016, I couldn’t see how desperately my little corner of the world would need light right here, right now.
Let’s be light.
My amazing friends are already out there doing it. They’re shining so brightly and I’m so darn proud of each and every one of them.
Like Ashley, who listened to that still, small voice and did the one thing right before her. She simply purchased hot coffee and donuts. And, with each delivery, she spread LIGHT.
Like Lindsy and William, who are fighting systemic injustice by linking arms with their neighbors. William is sleeping in a tent. Every night. Away from his family and his warm bed. On the hard ground, he is taking a stand. Their entire family are bright LIGHTS, shining through the darkness and casting a glow throughout their neighborhood.
Like Jennifer and Ashley, advocating for children in Foster Care and women in Women’s Shelters. Tangibly loving in the most simple of ways: a stocking this Christmas, a blessing bag. These girls are reaching out to their communities and gathering gifts for precious ones who may otherwise feel alone this Christmas. Simple. Beautiful. LIGHT.
Like Nina, who in the face of hatred, spoke up. Rather than simply lamenting and wringing her hands in despair, she had an idea. A simple idea to send a card or letter of encouragement to a family targeted by hate speech. Others joined in, from around the community and the nation, and one momma from India is now able to replace that one horrid hate-filled letter with tons of letters offering LIGHT and love instead.
Like Olivia, who started the movement “Repaint Hate.”
In her words, “I came across hate filled graffiti had been tagged on City Hospital, adjacent to our beautiful public library. I flew out of bed, loaded my car and covered that hate speech as fast as I could. As people responded positively, I realized this was something everyone can do. I encourage you to Repaint Hate no matter where you find it and find ways to combat bigotry whenever and however you can. Together we can push back against hate.”
Bright, bold, beautiful LIGHT. Let’s all find a way to shine today. Every single flicker is important. Every single one. So, go out there and shine, my friends.
*If you feel so inclined, take a photo of LIGHT shining today and share with the #shineyourlight hashtag. We can make light trend instead of hate.