When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them.” Matthew 9:36
It was the week before Memorial Day. Well, believe it or not, I have started exercising again. For the last six weeks, I have been walking a couple of miles five times a week. To keep it interesting, I try and walk different routes. So, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, I decided to walk in our local cemetery. It is quite large, and I had a route picked out that was about nine tenths of a mile long. I would do two laps and then part of another to get my two miles in.
I like walking in the cemetery because of all the stories that are told on the various headstones. It is almost like walking through a large library with each headstone representing the book of a person’s life. The length of life and the things they valued are often shown. Some have many details and others leave that up to the living to figure it out. However, on that particular Thursday, I noticed that many of the graves were marked with an American flag…the symbol of our great country. These were largely on the graves of those who had served their country. There were dozens and dozens, and I found my eyes drawn to them…and what they represented.
It was then that I noticed something. While many of the flags were pointed straight to the sky above…others were not. Some were bumped and haphazardly pointed someplace besides up. They had been hit by something…whether a careless foot or lawnmower. Others had been knocked completely down and lay in the grass and dirt…someplace they were never intended to be and then some had become victims of the mower’s blade and lay tattered. As I walked something began to stir in me. It occurred to me that someone should do something. It just wasn’t right. And then it also occurred that that someone was me.
So, as I walked, I began straightening some, replanting others and gathering the shredded remains of others. Yes, it did require some time, it did require some detours, but it was worth every minute. It simply was the right thing to do. On Saturday, I found myself again back at the cemetery and once again straightening, replanting and gathering shreds to be property disposed of later. It was right and it felt right. When I once again entered the cemetery that Memorial Day Monday, I looked at the flags and felt a good sense of pride that I had made a difference…not to all but to some. And then it hit me.
In a moment of time, I didn’t see flags but I saw people. I realized that all around me were people that had been bumped, bruised, and battered. And I began to wonder what could I do to help them? I know that often there isn’t a fix…certainly not one as easy as picking up or straightening up a flag in a cemetery but maybe – just maybe, a kind word or action could help the wounded, the bruised, and the bumped have a better day.
So, today I write a story, but I am also writing a reminder to me, to you, to all of us. The reminder is to look around with seeing eyes and look for the wounded and the hurting and extend a hand, a hug, or a heart. And who knows, another day when you see that person you may see their step is a little lighter and their smile a little brighter…because you took the time to straighten the bumped, replant the bruised, and maybe help pick up the pieces of a broken life. It is probably risky, and may be costly, but trust me it will be worth it.
Jesus was so good at this. One time He was coming ashore after a ride across a lake, and he was greeted by a whole crowd of bumped, bruised, and battered people and the Bible simply says, “When He saw the people, He had compassion on them.” He loved them, touched them, and sometimes even served them lunch. He simply couldn’t leave them the way they were…love wouldn’t allow it. If you are a Jesus follower…and even if you are not…love demands that we act. Love demands that we show a little kindness. Sound challenging? It is but know this…that God you believe in or at least want to believe in is just waiting to help. Trust me…He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne