Manchester. Kabul. Baghdad. London.
Such a world of pain we are living in these days. It keeps me up at night, like tonight.
In this short narrative, I want to give thanks to God for the reminders of his goodness in the strangers around me, some of whom I now know by name. It doesn’t ease the pain of those places in the world that are experiencing hatred and the way it is acted out. But it gives me pause to really think about the fact that I believe love wins.
We moved into a small apartment two months ago, away from the place where we have lived for thirty-some years in Omaha, away from the place where our neighbors knew Jana and looked out for her. We live in a place of strangers. But in these brief two months, some of those strangers have names. They have reached out in our time of need, just as people have reached out in those places listed at the beginning of this blog.
Gloria and her dad who came upon us in the parking garage as Jana collapsed to her knees on a day when her brain was too tired to let her stand. They helped me get her to the apartment and kept her smiling the whole way.
Angela who lives across the hall from us, held the elevator doors for us today as I was juggling groceries, and once again, trying to keep Jana on her feet. A simple gesture, but reaching out with hands to fill the gap when mine were already full.
Scott and Sara who live down the hall and always smile and laugh with us. They even know Jana’s nickname is Sprout. More than that, many days our paper is at our door before I can retrieve it because they think of us in the morning.
So many people rush around Jana and me because her pace is so slow, and I have slowed down to match it or am just holding on to her to steady her. They look past us. Today at the grocery store a woman whose name I don’t know caught us on the way in and said, “Hey! Where have you two been? I have missed seeing you.” It is a reminder to be thankful that not everyone looks past the humanity of others.
So as I watch the news tonight of another attack, it reminds me that God is present in all the hard places. He is there in the first responders. He is there in the hospitals. He is there on the streets as strangers reach out to each other to comfort and to just be present.
I am thankful tonight.
Dona nobis pacem.