“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with His stripes we are healed.” ~Isaiah 54:5 (RSV)
I’ve always endeavored to be open and straightforward in my column by sharing the ups and the downs of our lives, and with my husband’s permission, this week’s column will be no exception.
Two days before the end of the year, on December 29, 2006, the Republican precinct committee members from Wabaunsee County held a special meeting for the purpose of appointing someone to fulfill the unexpired term of County Attorney Elizabeth Cohn. Before the votes were cast, Alta Vista precinct committeeman and Former Commissioner Joe McClure addressed his fellow members, expressing his opinion that the appointee for county attorney should be: 1) a Republican; 2) a Christian with strong moral character; and 3) someone who has practiced law for more than five years.
Since Keen had already publicly announced his intention to run for the office of county attorney in 2008, it seemed natural for him to submit his name and résumé to the committee for consideration. While Keen realized there was a strong possibility that he might not be the successful candidate when the votes were counted, he was not prepared for the results of the final tally. Out of 23 precinct committee members who voted by secret ballot, not one single member voted for Keen. Not one. The total lack of support from the leaders of our own Republican Party was a tough pill to swallow and a harsh reality to face.
"At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them." ~ II Timothy 4:16
In an effort to lift Keen’s spirits, I told him that the committee members’ vote is not a true referendum until all the citizens of Wabaunsee County have been given the chance to voice their opinion at the ballot box. And the only way to find that out is to stay the course and run for county attorney next year, as he had originally planned. Of course it’s easy to get discouraged by the unanimous message sent by the precinct committee members, but I don’t think he should throw in the towel just yet.
Lately I’ve been reading Robin McGraw’s book titled, “Inside My Heart.” In it she writes about how her mother died suddenly at the age of 58 while talking on the phone. She had just mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well, and then she was gone – just like that. Robin used this painful experience to illustrate a point. “Like it or not,” she writes, “there are some things that cannot be controlled; not by me, not by anyone. Innocent children get hurt, hardworking adults lose their pensions, cities are blown away by hurricanes, and beloved wives, mothers, and grandmothers collapse and die of heart attacks while baking pies for their daughters. You can lament and carry on all you want to, but bad stuff happens to good people and there’s not much any of us can do about it except choose how to respond. That is all any of us can do. And ultimately, it’s all that matters.”
Robin went on to tell a story about the way one of her husband’s relatives treated her after she joined the family. At times this individual would act like she was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but then when no one else was around they would make rude and critical remarks to her. She was obviously offended and wanted her husband to come to her defense and confront the individual, but he just kept telling her that they had the right to say anything they wanted. Of course, Robin became angry and indignant because she thought he was supposed to be on her side. This went on for quite some time, and whenever it happened, Dr. Phil would have the same response. “You can’t control what people, think, say, or do, Robin; the only thing you can control is how you react to it.” One day she finally understood that he wasn’t saying that he agreed with that person, only that they had the right to feel the way they felt.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
That was a real eye opener for me. As Robin says in her book, no matter how much control we may try to exert over our lives, there will always be those unexpected tragedies happen that we can’t do anything about. As a matter of fact, Robin’s own sister, Cindi Broaddus, was severely burned when someone threw a gallon of acid from an overpass and it crashed through the windshield of her car. Cindi could have remained bitter, but she chose to forgive – even though her attacker has never been found. She has also written a book about her experience titled, “A Random Act,” and she travels all over the world talking about the power of forgiveness and inspiring others to engage in random acts of kindness.
Although many of us will never go through anything that catastrophic, most of us will experience the deep emotional pain caused by feelings of betrayal or rejection, hurtful words or actions, or the unexpected loss of a loved one through death or divorce. No one gets through life without falling victim to some or all of the above. As Henry Longfellow expressed in his poem titled Rainy Day: “Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall.”
“. . . for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” ~ Matthew 5:45b (NKJV)
Craig Smith said it best in the column he wrote about how the Amish community reacted to the horrific murders that shattered their peaceful lives: “They didn't blame God or look to make sense of what is a truly senseless act,” he wrote. “They made a choice to live their faith and trust in God. Knowing full well God loves them and has forgiven them, in turn they forgive others – even when it means the loss of something as precious as a child. They chose not to allow hate to fill their hearts. They know hate produces darkness and eclipses the light of God in man.”
People are often unreasonable, illogical and
self-centered… forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish,
ulterior motives… be kind anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat or
malign you…be honest anyway.
What you spend years building, someone may
try to destroy overnight… build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some people
may be jealous…be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget
tomorrow…. do good anyway.
Give the world your best, and it may never be
enough… give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you
and God…it was never between you and them, anyway.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. . . For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?” ~ Matthew 5:43-45a (NKJV)