Yesterday, United States President Obama. Today, Orlando’s jeff noel.
Different people, same word.
December 31, 2001. New Year’s Eve. The biggest “drinking day” of the entire year.
But not this day, December 31, 2001. Not this man. Not ever again.
Rarely watching TV, I was captivated the other night when Charlie Gibson was interviewing United States President, Barack Obama, on the ABC Evening News.
The one word that really made me put things into perspective, was a word the President Obama used to describe how the decision to send US troops to Afghanistan was different from other critical US policy decisions.
President Obama spoke of a certain level of sobriety that was needed on that particular decision. He said it was the one decision that was different from all the others. I paraphrase here, to illustrate the magnitude:
“Bailing out the auto industry or the financial system is one thing. But picturing Arlington Cemetery, with a mother, sitting in the rain, in front of a tombstone…..”
Not talking about the Three Doors Down rock song Citizen Soldier, or our Country’s National Guard, for whom the song is dedicated.
Talking about all the active duty men and women military personnel I’ve seen this week. Orlando to Atlanta, Atlanta to Columbia, Columbia to Atlanta, and Atlanta to Dallas.
Decided, in the spirit of giving, to not only give thanks internally, but to give thanks externally.
So I awkwardly asked how best to show appreciation for their efforts. They all said basically the same thing.
A simple thank you means a lot.
And so that’s what I’ve been doing, going only a little out of my way (that’s all it takes), to thank each and every one I pass.
The Lord works in mysterious ways. One of the service men, heading back to Iraq and leaving behind a wife and three children (16, 10, 6) at Christmas time, wound up being an angel for me about five minutes later.
Life is hard for many people this time of year. Add to that unprecedented times, and we have an overwhelming number of people who are struggling in one way or another right now.
And I mean struggling at a greater intensity than many generations can recall.
It sure seems that way to me.
Can you imagine being Tiger Woods right now, or President Obama, or even the Pope?
Can you imagine being the average American who can no longer put food on the table, when a year ago they could quite easily?
I worry about a lot more than I used to. So, now more than ever, the phrase, “Pray without ceasing“, has a special meaning.
And also a special obligation.