In my mind, I cannot imagine living to be a hundred years old. To go from an age of
no electricity, to people walking on the move, microwave ovens, the Internet and cell
phones. It has to boggle the mind living in so many different era's. I remember the
first time I videotaped my father. He sat there for a long time watching the camera and
waiting for me to "snap his picture". He kept saying "Cheese". It was so funny trying
to explain to him I wasn't using "film" and yes, it would even record his voice. It was
beyond his comprehension.
I'm not old, but I've been around awhile. I've seen things I never even dreamed of in
my youth, and when I think I've seen it all - Well, it just seems like nothing ever
surprises me anymore. Except for one thing. The capacity of the human spirit.
As a victim of a sudden tornado in West Texas, it amazed me how folks who had lost
everything they owned would offer help to a neighbor. There are heroes everywhere.
Folks who look outside of themselves and their immediate trials and reach out to help
those other folks who they deem as being in much more dire straights. Real Heroes.
Recently, this capacity of the human spirit revealed itself to me again. At a local
college, one of the students learned his father had died and the funeral would be held
in a matter of days. The problem was that the student was from Africa and his plane
fare to fly home for the funeral on such short notice would be over $3500. He was
devastated and yearned to be with his family during this time of grief.
At local travel agency was able to arrange a special "emergency" rate of $1600 but he
would have to have the money in less than 48 hours.
Someone sent a campus-wide email asking for 100 people to donate $16 each to buy
him a plane ticket home. The email went out at three o'clock on a Friday, when most
were just thinking about going home for the weekend. Miraculously, within two hours,
enough money was raised to help this young man get home for his father's funeral -
and then some!
This may seem like just another story, but it still amazes me. For I know some of the
people in this story. Two of them are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. One just
became a widow recently. One just returned to work from a radical mastectomy.
Others are struggling financially, and I'm sure there are many other trials in the lives of
these people that no one is aware of. But each one of them looked outside of
themselves at the trials of a stranger, and gave from their hearts.
It reminds me of my mother's favorite saying, though I don't remember it's origin: "I
once felt bad because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet."
When crisis comes, you will always be able to find that little place inside yourself that
is stronger than life. It's what keeps us going when we want to quit. It's what makes
us help others when we can't even cry out for ourselves. It's what makes heroes. I'm
sure those who gave $16 probably don't consider themselves heroes. That young
student probably has a much different opinion about that.
|A Christian Grief Ministry