We have lots and lots of beggars, if you will, who frequent the main intersections along the highway frontage road near our house. Usually I try to keep a few bucks handy, and if traffic lights and timing allow, I’ll hand it out the window, as I pass by, to the waiting hand on the other side. One day my daughter Shelby and I were sitting at the red light when I said out loud, mostly to myself, “I have no money on me.” I glanced over at Shelby (then 16 years old) who without saying a word, was quietly rummaging through her own wallet, and promptly withdrew $5 of her meager babysitting earnings. I told her that she didn’t have to give that much, but she shrugged her shoulders and gladly passed it over to me. I think her heart was breaking for that guy who asked for money. And if mine wasn’t before we stopped at the traffic light, it certainly was now. Shelby’s generosity and compassion did not require an application, a questionnaire or any prior knowledge of that man’s life situation. Her heart took over, and she acted on it. That’s what a broken heart does. It acts. Maybe that doesn’t always happen by giving money. It could be time, food, talents, coffee, smiles, hugs, or just your availability. But I hope first of all that your heart breaks for something, for someone! And second of all, I hope when it does, you act on it. Sometimes my heart breaks for a friend who is going through a tough time with their child (lots of empathy going on here) and I am compelled to send them a note of encouragement, reminding than that God is their provider and their safety net. Sometimes my heart breaks for teenagers (a lot of the time) who seem to be bent on a path of destruction and often seem to think that a relationship with a boyfriend or a girlfriend is going to solve all of their problems, when really what they crave is a relationship with a parent who takes the time to help them navigate these impressionable years with love and accountability. Sometimes I just look into the faces of students when I am substitute teaching in school or when teaching a college class, and my heart breaks for all the stories in that room to which I am not privy. Sometimes the only way I can “act” on that heartbreak is to treat them with respect and offer them a reassuring smile. Sometimes my heart breaks when I see that same woman at that same intersection with that same sign asking for help. She’s about my age. But she’s much taller. Her hair always seems dirty, and her face always seems to be lined with worry. That face stays with me in my mind’s eye long after I pass by. My heart breaks when I read about young girls abducted into sexual slavery, taken By force from their homes and their mothers. My heart breaks when I visit the nursing home on a local mission with my church, and elderly faces stare up at you with gratitude for taking only 3 hours out of an entire month to listen to their stories. Incredible stories of loss, love, joy, war, heroism, and hard work! Yet they are grateful to me-for what? For taking 2 or 3 measly hours away from the hustle and bustle of my comfy life to visit with them. My heart breaks. If your heart never breaks, you should ask yourself one simple question. “Why not?” Not always, but sometimes this invincible heart is facilitated by one or two overriding factors. The first is “I’m too busy with my own life, to have a broken heart over someone else’s!” And secondly, we pass judgement quickly, and abruptly then bypass our hearts all together. We often act as judge and jury over someone’s life even when we often know very little about them. But when we do, the judgement is pronounced and no mercy is forth given. Common statements to this effect might include, “He asked for that!” “She had it coming!” Regardless of the reason, when our heart fails to break, we fail to act. And regardless of the reasons-in that moment-no one-not anybody is more undeserving than we are of a hot meal, a warm bed, fresh water, protection, a listening ear, hope, inspiration, or help. Being a good steward of our money and our time, while having compassion and generosity for others can indeed coexist. We build big beautiful houses, and then use them only for ourselves. We drive cars that cost as much as a small house, and yet are unwilling to part with either our money OR our time for those less fortunate. Well, perhaps-unless we know a LOT about them and their life situation! There’s more than enough hurt in this world to go around. There is no shortage of opportunities to lend a hand or a dollar. The only way I know how to deal with a broken heart is to help mend someone else’s. Try emptying your mind of all of your preconceived notions about who is and who is not deserving. Free yourself of the self-imposed restrictions hindering you from meeting someone’s need. The end result could be life changing for someone, maybe even you.
“The crowd protesting Saturday recited the pledge of allegiance, and many offered prayers. Others waved placards reading, “This land is your land,” and “We teach our children not to bully. How do we teach our government not to be big bullies?” according to ABC News. Let me get this straight, you wield weapons, intimidating and threatening the lives of federal agents carrying out their sworn duties, and you say THIS is a lesson for your kids on how NOT to bully, as you (the parent) epitomize and define the very essence of bullying in your protest. And THEN YOU are going to suggest that this was a peaceful first amendment protest? How do you reconcile the freedom of speech and to assemble protected in the first amendment, with bringing mass numbers of semi automatic weapons to the protest? Can the two coexist at one event? Or wouldn’t it be true that as a protester you are threatening the sacredness of the first amendment by combining it with your second amendment? Is it really a peaceful assembly at that point? I don’t think so. And when you are there NOT for the set purpose of protesting, BUT RATHER, the purpose of preventing the government from carrying out their sworn duties? That’s-well-illegal. The right to free assembly and freedom of speech does not in ANY way, give Americans the right to “obstruct justice” or interfere with an ongoinig investigation. When we do, we are subject to arrest and jail time. Period. And when a Republican governor has this to say, it is a sad commentary on his unwillingness to denounce the illegal and gross misconduct taken by his Nevada citizens: “The safety of all individuals involved in this matter has been my highest priority. Given the circumstances, today’s outcome is the best we could have hoped for. I appreciate that the Department of the Interior and the BLM were willing to listen to the concerns of the people of Nevada.” Really? He says that as if “the people of Nevada” had been in diplomatic discussions all day in a meeting with coffee and donuts. But that’s not true. The “Nevada people” were out brandishing their weapons, breaking the law-obstructing justice. Not to mention, making blatant and flagrant claims that they were willing to use those weapons against innocent employees of the government if they didn’t get their way. Well, get their way they DID. Furthermore, ZERO admonishing on the part of Governor Sandoval for his state’s citizens to go home and leave the federal agents to do their job was forthcoming. In this country we have an adversarial system. It’s named, in short and in simple terms, the American legal process. What that means, is if you are an American citizen you always have a way to appeal decisions by the government, a right that is unheard of in many many countries around the world. Mr. Bundy and his militia friends have chosen not to pursue this legal course of action that is available to them and what has been used successfully for hundreds of years to impact and change multiple political and social issues. Instead, they have chosen to stage a coup more or less and overthrow the Bureau of Land management. Was there a moral basis for this act of violence and rebellion? Had the BLM been threatening lives of citizens? No. Had they been accepting bribes and practicing open corruption? Not by any reports or accounts! Were they doing ANYTHING that might demand such interference and bullying on the part of concerned citizens? No, they were just carrying out their sworn duties under the umbrella of the same adversarial system that grants the defendant the right of appeal. No indeed. The federal government first ordered Cliven Bundy to remove his cattle in 1998. They have made repeated efforts, seeking his legal and peaceful compliance with the law for over 16 long years! But apparently, unlike other ranchers in the area, Cliven Bundy is above the law. “This is a matter of fairness and equity, and we remain disappointed that Cliven Bundy continues to not comply with the same laws that 16,000 public-lands ranchers do every year. After 20 years and multiple court orders to remove the trespass cattle, Mr. Bundy owes the American taxpayers in excess of $1 million. The BLM will continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” BLM Chief Kornze. I think Governor Sandoval is an embarrassment to the Republican party as much as Vance McAllister and his staffer affair could ever hope to be. When a governor (as well as state congressmen) give their blessing to the grossly inappropriate actions of red neck bullies, (think two year olds with weapons) it’s embarrassing to his political party. This whole event and public display of insolence should be embarrassing and mortifying to all of us as citizens. If you are a Christian, it should be equally mortifying every time one of the militia men recites a prayer!