And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6:31
I have a former co-worker who has started a church in our community, the focus of this church is on being a good neighbor. You might have seen this church on the local news when they started meeting at an apartment complex clubhouse. Or heard about this church when the Mister Rogers movie with Tom Hanks came out last year. As I have mentioned before, with virtual church, we sometimes attend more than one church service in a week, sometimes more than one in a single day. At that church’s service this week, the musician sang a song called Revolutionary by Josh Wilson. If you keep up with current Christian music maybe you have heard it. The music is lovely and the lyrics really lead to introspection. The chorus of the song returns to “Why does kindness seem revolutionary, when did we let hate get so ordinary”. The artist wrote it to document all of the turmoil we experienced in 2020 and efforts for us to overcome this through kindness, collaboration and perspective.
We have a lovely and eccentric gentleman who lives down the street from us. He is single, retired, served more than 40 years in the national guard and has been deployed many times. He always has older cars that seem to be in jeopardy of falling apart. When they will cost more to repair than what he paid for them he leaves them where they die. Monday very early as I pulled out of our driveway this neighbor was pulling into the neighborhood and his car was shooting flames out the back (imagine Back to the Future). As he turned onto his street he realized that the car was on fire. I yelled to him to park and get out while I called 911. He ran into his home to get the fire extinguisher but by then the car was too far engulfed. We stood together in our driveway as we waited for the Fire Department to arrive and we hoped that they could maybe salvage his belongings, even if the car was no longer drivable. Sadly, the car and virtually everything in it was a total loss. The fire investigator found that he had driven oven a sign post on the highway that someone else had hit and it punctured his gas tank. The post created the spark for the gas and he was lucky to escape when he did.
Our neighborhood is amazing. People came to make sure he was ok, one of our neighbors has an older vehicle they will be selling (exactly the kind of on-its-last-legs cars that he likes) and people were quick to help with clean-up. They also shared with him how glad they were that he was ok. As Brian and I talked about this throughout the last few days we mentioned this song and the fact that our experience, even in this terrible event, reflects the kind of Nebraska that we want to live in. And the kind of country that we want to live in. A place where when a tragedy strikes people call for help, and they support each other. A place where we tell our neighbors – I’m glad you are safe. A place where a police officer gently asks questions of an older gentleman moments after a shocking event and commiserates with him about the wallet that was on the front seat of the car – and is now burned up. A place where kindness isn’t that unusual.
Prayer: Creator God, thank you for watching over us. Thank you for helping us spread your love and your kindness to our families, friends, neighbors and strangers. Help us to increase the spread of kindness everywhere that we go. Amen