Every now and then we get reminded of just how good the people in our world can be. And “our world” isn’t just our circle of nearby friends, or folks from our neighborhood, friends of friends, etc. It quite literally is people from around the world. Bear with me as I elaborate and follow along as I try to share what has been impactful for me this morning.
I am an Army veteran. Due to the lingering impacts of military life, I tend to make friends more easily with other veterans (from any branch no matter how much grief we give each other). As a result of that reality I have a friend who is in the Air Force; we’ll call him B. B is a general good guy who understands life’s challenges. He’s in his 40s, been married, been divorced, has children, etc. For all of his life’s challenges he is one of the most giving and caring people I know. He helps all he can within his own circumstance.
A few years back B went on a training deployment (I think) to Australia. He was there for a few months and made friends with some of the Aussie AF folks he had to work with/beside. Like all of us, he became closer friends with some than others. Then, when some of those Aussie AF friends decided to come visit America, he hosted them while they were in his area. While they were visiting B also hosted a party for his local friends.
I was among the group of local friends B invited and as a result I got to meet the Aussie AF folks. I’m going to call one of them M. M and her significant other were enjoying “seeing America,” and proved to be highly entertaining. During the couple of hours we got to enjoy together at B’s party, we made fun of each other’s accents, discussed differences in culture, learned about different approaches to some of the same life’s realities that all humans deal with, and perhaps most importantly, talked about our dogs. After all… if someone loves dogs, how bad can they be, right? (A joke with some truth in it.)
Thanks to the wonders of social media, even though I had only met M for a few hours, we became friends on that thing we call Facebook. Obviously, we can’t hang out to enjoy a beer together, nor can we train together, go to social events together, etc., but we can watch each other’s life unfold, experience ups and downs, help each other with kind and supportive words during challenges, etc. Time passes…
Recently a family we are close to in our neighborhood was slapped in the face with a big life challenge of the medical variety. Our close friend, referred to here as S, was hit with a health challenge that is very scary. He’s still facing the challenge with his family beside him and a huge chunk of the community surrounding and supporting them. The number of people willing to help them is a testament to how much they do for others and the kind of people they are.
Like almost everyone else in today’s world, they keep hundreds of friends and family informed through posts of social media. Many of those friends ask for prayers and assistance for them on the same social media platform(s). Those posts aren’t just seen by people on the next block, the next town or the next county. They’re seen all across the nation and the world. As a result of that contemporary reality, my friend M in Australia saw my prayer request for the family and reached out to see if there was anything else she could do besides pray. Make a donation? Offer some other type of support?
To say I was moved would be an understatement, but after I got through the conversation with M on how she could help S’s family, I had to sit back and think about all the circumstances across the years that even put us in a position for her to want to. YEARS ago B got deployed to Australia where he met her. YEARS later B and I became friends. YEARS after that M came to America for a visit and by pure circumstance she and I met at B’s house. (I almost didn’t go to that party and am SO glad I did now.) And here we are, again YEARS later, and a young lady with a caring heart in Australia is making an online donation to help a friend of mine here in Maryland purely because she and I are friends and she feels it’s the right thing to do. S is a fellow veteran; his son is currently serving; his family is so active in the community doing so much for others. M felt driven to make a donation to support and assist them.
I am not an overly religious man… but that is a bit too much circumstance for me to think there wasn’t a guiding hand in there somewhere. It would take some serious oversight, foresight and a guiding hand of some kind to put the wheels in motion YEARS ago, sending one guy to Australia to meet one young lady who eventually came to visit America and met me… and stayed in touch via modern tech. Her donation to support S’s family and his fight would never have happened if B hadn’t been deployed to Australia those years ago. Follow that string of convoluted circumstance and realize, higher power or not, the end result is a blessing that cannot be denied.
Now… keeping all that in mind, I ask you: Have you looked around to consider the blessing(s) brought on by convoluted circumstance in your life? If not, you should. It’s inspiring to see how things unfold. I admit, sometimes the end results aren’t as heartwarming. But the very fact that what’s happening today, even to someone else, could have such a positive impact on someone else’s day years from now brings a feeling of hope to my heart. Maybe it’ll have the same impact on yours?