Covered with an awning to protect her from the unseasonably warm sun, my three-year-old sat inside the stroller like a mini Queen of Sheba. She wanted to know what the yellow thing was in the field (a combine) or the blue thing (a tractor), and then she wanted to know what each piece of equipment did.
We live in the country, in case you can’t tell.
After countless more Why’s and What’s, I wanted a little quiet. Like two seconds, perhaps. Or at least enough of a break in between questions to let me catch my breath. But the questions continued. As I pushed the stroller, my sweet daughter prattling, I tried to answer her, but my heart wasn’t in it. My mind couldn’t help but drift to the attacks on Paris. And the attacks going on around the world.
I wanted to ask questions of my own. I wanted to ask God why there was so much turmoil. Wars, rumors of wars, droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, terrorists using women and children as slaves.
The list of horrors was endless, and I felt like pestering God until I got answers—until He too was desperate to catch His breath.
And then we reached the line of pines that bordered the L-shaped road. The longer portion was stippled with the bark and branches leftover from the logs after the machinery pinched them between their claws like gargantuan beetles. The sunlit forest floor was littered with evergreen clippings.
But my daughter did not see how differently this forest looked than it did a month ago. Instead, she saw pine cones. Hundreds and hundreds of pine cones. Scrambling out of her stroller throne, my daughter hiked through the grass in her snow boots, scooping up pine cones with both hands.
Watching her, it struck me that I had a choice: to either see the pine cones or see where someone had logged the trees.
I can see terrorism erupting around our globe and blame it on God and question His sovereignty. Or I can see this sorrow as the gift of our free will. Instead of blaming Him for the devastation, I can look for those who are using their ability to choose, not to wreak havoc, but to help.
As Fred Rogers said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
Now we just have to be sure we are wise as serpents and harmless as doves as we use our free wills to help.
How have you seen people helping around your community?