In Lead more gently

My Week In the United States of America

I am a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.

Monday saw me watching my grandchildren play alongside complete strangers on the play equipment at the Zoo. Climbing all over the make-believe rocks and rivers were little people from different race and cultural groups. They chased each other up and down the slides, squealing with delight: strangers, yet friends for the day.

This is the face of America I have come to know.

Tuesday saw me watching the election results on Television. I listened to victory speeches and congratulatory speeches and I saw Americans rejoice and I saw Americans mourn. I listened to conversations from both sides. I added my voice on one or two occasions. On my Facebook stream I saw friends reach across the red and blue party lines, acknowledging that the democratic system had done its work, yet committing to still be friends. I saw honest to goodness kindness in their words toward each other.

This is the face of America I have come to know.

Wednesday saw me shopping for some kitchen items in Target.   As I walked the isles, store staff stopped what they were doing, looked me in the eye, smiled and asked, “Can I help you find anything?” When I got to the checkout counter the cashier smiled and greeted me like a long last friend. “Did you find everything you needed? Is there anything else I can help you with?”

This is the face of America I have come to know.

Thursday saw me attend a Board meeting. Around the table sat some of the smartest, kindest and most generous people I have ever met. Each one of them is super-busy and highly successful. Yet, they spend their own money to fly across the country and take their own time and donate it to a ministry organization that serves the poor in a country halfway across the globe. All of them serve local ministries too. They are intelligent, informed and committed people who I am honored to serve alongside.

This is the face of America I have come to know.

Friday saw me host our non-profit ministry’s annual fundraiser. It was also Veterans Day. All day long I heard people thank a veteran for their service. All over social media and television, Americans were thanking those in the armed forces, past and present (as well as thanking the families of those in the military) for their service. Then they came out in crowds to our Orange Ball and ate mass-cooked rubbery chicken with a smile on their face and an incredibly generous hand in their wallets. Afterward they thanked me for my service.

This graciousness is exactly the face of America I have come to know.

It is the end of an emotional week. My email account is filled with grace-filled notes written by a diverse group of people who are living through tumultuous times. Yet, because they love God and they love people, they take the time to acknowledge and celebrate the good they see in others.

This is the face of America I have come to know.

Thank you Americans! I am honored to be counted among you.

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:1-3

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