(Bowing towards Las Vegas…)
I didn’t know what to write about that might help readers shake the horrible sadness from yesterday’s news.
So, I asked the wise Michael Johnson (one of our favorite authors) for a suggestion. He offered this story:
Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
THE ROSE (S)
Sometimes – often, in fact – it seems impossible to understand why things happen the way they do. At times, we are lost and alone and must endure unbearable sadness. Perhaps it’s the death of a loved one, a friend, or an animal in our lives that hits us with the most powerful punch we’ve ever known right in the heart. Stunned and breathless, we fall and then fall some more, and we drift down to the bottom floor of the universe…and just sit there. Why on earth do we have to live in a world like that? I do not know…but there is some good news. I have a theory about all this. Never told anyone, but I’m going to now – because as the great English theologian, C. S. Lewis, once said, “It just seems like too much fun to resist.”
Pastor Rick Warren, of “Purpose Driven Life” fame once suggested that we live our lives thinking we have “good” times, and then we hit a stretch that’s not so comfortable, and we call those “bad” times. The preacher offered the idea that a more accurate way of describing our experience might be that our lives are like “tracks.” Actually, there is always something wonderful happening, (sometimes hard to see) and at the same time, something not so wonderful (much easier to see). For many of us, good and bad are always together. Which leads to my theory…
Really it’s not a theory at all. “Theories” may or may not be true. This is a truth. Not said to make you feel good. Real. I know. I’ve lived it. Betting you have, too.
Here it is…
When something awful happens – something really awful – there is a living force in the universe that turns its head and takes notice. At that moment, this thing starts heading our way. It’s coming. And when it gets here, it begins to make something good come from that darkness. Darndest thing. I’ve seen it over and over. Oklahoma City, Twin Towers, and more.
What is that? Some claim to know. Some say, “Well, that’s Jesus, son.” Might be. And then again, maybe He farmed the task out to some angel who had the day off. No matter how much someone claims to know, they don’t know any better than you or me. (Methodists are rarely sure about anything.) All I know is, whatever it is, it’s something awfully big. And in the middle of heartbreak, this thing comes and helps us.
Little town in the panhandle of Oklahoma. Sweetwater it’s called. 100 people. That’s it – 100 people. When I saw the school in Sweetwater, I had to smile – it was so small. Looked like a Norman Rockwell painting. Then later, I was surprised to learn it was recently named one of the top two schools in Oklahoma. There was a young girl there.
A child diagnosed with leukemia and no hope. We talked about it some. Later, I told Superintendent Casey Reed, “The people here are remarkable.”
“Let me tell you how remarkable,” he said. “I went to see her a few days ago. The doctors say it’s a matter of hours.” He paused for a time looking away. “I asked her if there was anything she wanted. She said no, that everyone had been so nice. Then I said, ‘No, I mean is there anything you want? Anything at all?’ ”
“Well,” said the child, “actually, I’ve never had a rose. If it’s not too much trouble, I would like to have a rose.”
Then Mr. Reed turned to me. “I put that word out to the 100 people in this town. A town ravaged by drought,” he added. “The next day, those 100 people sent the child her rose…well, ‘roses’ actually.”
“How many?” I asked, knowing that thing had come to this little town.
Mr. Reed smiled, and said, “460 dozen.”