It’s been hard to keep the home in my heart grounded and peaceful when our country is in such turmoil. Lies are truth, values are upside down.
It’s been hard not to fear for our future, as a culture and as a nation.
I know that my future rests on God’s deeper reality, not our culture or political system. But there are times when our culture and political systems have been more in line with eternal realities, and during those times it’s easier to live in peace. And there are times when political systems are actively evil, when society is in turmoil and life full of danger. Think of Cambodia under Pol Pot. Think of Hitler’s Germany.
We’ve not lived through those times in our country. Not yet. We still have shared values and beliefs which supported truth and freedom. We have the rule of law to which we can appeal. It’s been hard at times, certainly. During the fight against segregation, for examp0le, there were times when evil seemed to win. But ultimately, our country affirmed our belief that all people are created equal, and more and more we work to live out those beliefs.
But this week I’ve been reminded that even now, in the middle of our national mess, there are individuals who do what they can to live what is right. This week New Yorkers Gregory Locke and Jared Nied took responsibility and made a difference in the world by controlling what they can control – their own behavior in the world. And they remind me to hope.
Jared Nied is 36, Gregory Locke 27. They’re just regular guys, New York subway riders who got on the subway Saturday night only to be confronted with Swastikas scrawled over every window and wall of the car.
It was shocking for everyone. Mr. Locke says in his post they were all “uncomfortable and unsure what to do”.
But they didn’t just stay uncomfortable. Here’s what happened, as reported to Bromwich:
Mr. Nied had many times used a Sharpie when he had meant to use a dry-erase marker, and he knew from experience that alcohol would work to erase the graffiti.
“A light bulb went on, and I just asked, ‘Does anyone have hand sanitizer?’” he said.
Mr. Nied and several other commuters began to wipe away the graffiti, their actions captured in photographs taken by Mr. Locke, who wrote on Facebook about his experience. By late Sunday afternoon, more than 518,000 people had reacted to the post on Facebook, and the post had been shared more than 354,000 times.
They didn’t side-step responsibility by “reporting it to the authorities”, who could or would do nothing. They didn’t find a skinhead to beat up. They actively stepped up to evil where they saw it, and did what they could, here and now, to live the truth into their world.
Normal people, leading normal lives, confronting evil, and taking action. Meaningful action. Responsible action. And then going about their daily lives once again.
Some of us are still willing to take responsibility to live with respect for others and dignity in ourselves, and to do what we can to make a positive difference. Even now, at this time in our nation, our culture.
And that’s a reason to hope.