Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shh. Sarah's Thinking...

Sarah's mind has been busy lately.

That's nothing strange, only what Sarah has been thinking has been rather different than what she usually dwells on.

My nearly thirteen-year-old little brother (Sarah's brother, of course) who isn't so little anymore, returned from a Californian business trip with my father just a week ago. He was there helping my father for ten days, an actually unusually long trip for them. And although six of us children were born there, Stephen hadn't been back to that chaotic world for almost six years. He was in for quite a surprise.

California has thrown itself into such a bizarre replication of a loud, living, mechanical, crazy clock that Stephen was shocked we had really lived there for as long as we had. My parents were both raised there, but besides being thankful that they took us out of that horrific existence, Stephen came out of the experience bettered in a strange way.

I remember the morning he called us up from way down in the sunny south and told us that they were driving through what was recently the nation's #1 murder capital. After reassuring his mother's panic-stricken state of mind, he told us quietly that he couldn't believe how incredibly wicked our world has become. When he returned to us, safe and sound, we all gathered around to hear his rendition of the peace-shattering experience.

"Barred up salons and hotels," he recalled, "shattered windows covered in cardboard, dark creatures lurking on every darker corner, broken street lights and traffic signals, graffiti everywhere, everywhere, and not a decent soul to be seen at all. It was like the worst ghost town ever, and totally like another country."

I asked him what struck him most profoundly while witnessing such an unforgettable sight.

He said this. "The fact that the world is so obviously terrible and that decent people are living there, living in it and letting the terrible things happen. Just half an hour from the worst place in the country, beautiful mansions line the hillside - the homes of decent, normal people who are living in the most complete oblivion to the darkness around them."

Someone asked him if anything else stuck out to him.

He smiled. I love his smiles - his hazel eyes always smile brighter than even his mouth. "Well," he said, "I suddenly became very thankful for the beautiful home we live in, the family I've been placed in, and the parents who persevere to teach their children the ways of God - no matter how difficult it is. I also appreciate our parents' desire to not be passive in our world, but to share the gospel and love of Jesus Christ to every person who crosses the paths of our lives."

Hmm, Sarah's thinking, that wasn't such a bad trip after all.

"It was so hard for me to see all the pain, suffering and darkness," he concluded, "but I'm so thankful I did. I've been completely changed from the inside, and never to be the same again."

Great trip.

"Stephen," I said, giving him a hug, "the first thing for you to do is teach your siblings how civilizations come to this point of God's judgement and vivid unhappiness. Then, I look forward to hearing how you are going to change that in your lifetime - in your generation, and in the generations to follow you."

"Right," he said, "because our family's not going to forget the commandments of God, and we're not going to forget to share them with others, either, are we?"

No, Stephen. You couldn't have said that better, and you couldn't be more right. :-)

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