By Debra Whittington
When tragedy strikes our youth, all of us are affected whether we knew them or not. Such was the case last week when there was an outpouring of sympathy and support from not only our community, but others as well. It is so easy to get caught up with our own lives that we don’t think something bad will happen to one of our own. My prayers are with all those affected by this tragedy.
Now as family, teachers, and youth undergo counseling to deal with this tragedy, we need to continue to give our support where it is needed. Maybe now is a time when we can be a little less critical to others who have hurt us or treat us badly. It is the time to have a little more patience when waiting in line at the store instead of deciding it is all the clerk’s fault.
Glen Campbell once sang, “Try a little kindness, and you’ll overlook the blindness…lend a helping hand instead of doubt and the kindness that you show every day will help someone along their way.” In the mundane of everyday life, we often forget about those around us who are going through great trials either in their life or the life of someone they love.
Lately, I noticed more and more people I come into contact with who are going through trials of despair. Although living, they are merely going through the motions on a daily basis and wondering if their lot in life will ever improve. Others are isolating themselves through something someone said or did and now they are lashing out at the entire world. They, too, need the comfort and edifying of others to steer them back on the right path.
Oregon experienced a senseless tragedy a week ago, but one man refused to become a victim. Although he was shot several times defending others, his outlook on life reveals the reason he would put himself in harm’s way for a complete stranger. He isn’t alone as thousands of strangers have donated money to pay his medical expenses. He is a true hero.
Just as the weather is overcast and gloomy as I write this, so could go my emotions. Many people allow weather to rule their emotions, but in this case we can praise God that our community isn’t under water like so many in South Carolina are at this time. I am sure many of them are simply thankful to be alive.
It all boils down to what we are going to do with the events that are happening all around us. Sometimes it seems as though all we have is bad news making it difficult to praise God. Hebrews 13:15 has the answer for this: “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name”. While it may seem difficult to offer praise to God when we are hurting, this sacrifice at the time leads us to find things so we can praise God.
Let us take all the negative emotions of this past week and pour them into helping others even if we don’t feel like it right now. Begin with a kind word or a simple gesture to let someone know that you care. Stop that hateful word or words that wants to pour out to hurt someone and find something nice to say. If that isn’t possible, bite back those words by not saying anything at all.
It is my prayer that we can become a community that truly cares for each other. It can begin with one word or deed from just one person.
Note: First Baptist Church is starting a new Grief Share class on Wednesday nights 6:15-7:30. For more information contact the church office at 461:2724
Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at: