Anne here. A white pick up truck just turned the corner in front of the large window front of my home town main street coffee shop. In the back of the truck bed, a huge stack of six American flags rides hanging over the edge as it accelerates, and I'm reminded that I just watched the movie The Patriot last night. The final pre-battle scene flashes through my mind, where Benjamin Martin's character has just lost his son to pure honor-less hatred and he's given up the fight, defeated by all he's seen and experienced. But as he packs his saddlebag, he catches sight of the American flag peeking from the corner of the leather pouch and pulls it out, running his hand over it's patched colors.
The next scene is the flag waving free in the wind over the crest of the hill, riding closer to the line of soldiers marching to fight Cornwallis. We know they defeated Cornwallis. But they didn't know they would. They knew pain, tyranny, hatred, prejudice, anger, oppression. And they fought it--at great cost. They protected each other's hopes.
I refill my coffee cup and sit down as my dear friend texts me about the terrible impact of media-crazed misinformation that is swirling in her town. Like a tyrannical enemy, the mob is claiming a group of students who were asked to give a "high-five" sign for a picture for their parents has gone viral online. The story has been twisted worse than the silly telephone game we used to play at my Amish babysitters, suggesting the students were flashing a hate sign.
I ponder how times have changed as I sip my hot dark brew and watch out the window where six little Amish kids sit quietly entertaining themselves and talking kindly to one another without the use of any electronic devices and I smile at the simplicity of human kindness unfolding before me.
It hurts and it's sad that the whole world can't be so beautiful a place as my little hometown coffee shop this morning. I pull out my laptop and open it to begin edits, wondering if I can find the right words. Wondering if it really matters if I write them. Speak them. Share them. The gaggle of Amish children soon leaves, replaced by two young mothers having lunch, an Amish lady having coffee with a Mennonite lady, and a Millennial Asian girl who drapes her mod-dressed body on a lazy chair in front of me and puts on headphones as her fuzzy clogged foot hangs over the armchair.
I hear the coffee grinder in the background. The cat needs let out at home and I begin to wonder if I'd have gotten more meaningful words accomplished at home. My friend texts again from Wisconsin, asking for prayer for her community as the controversy is blowing up on social media, her coworker is in tears, and death threats have been sent.
Suddenly the Asian girl throws her phone, jumps to her feet, and starts jumping up and down squealing out loud. The moms look up, I look up, the Amish lady and the Mennonite lady look up and say, "whatever it is, congratulations...?!" She exclaims that her visa has just been approved. And just like that six women unknown by one another, laugh together.
I want to hug her or buy her a coffee to celebrate but she's gotten up to meet someone. So I look back at my laptop and wonder about meaningful words again. About the power of bad words. The power of good words.
The Asian girl sits back down, joy still exuding from her as she rapidly texts someone. A small Amish boy walks up to her about ten feet away, staring at her, he smiles. She looks up and smiles. He grins wider. She waves at him. He waves back.
And just like that. Asia waves at Amish. Woman smiles at boy. Strangers share joy. Without words.
And I see them. I see Asia. I see Amish. I see boy and woman. I see kindness that makes us more the same than different. More united than opposed, or defeated by hate or division.
We are supposed to see the differences and the sameness, the connections and the hearts. We are supposed to care about what we know, who we know, and who we don't. We are supposed to overlook offense, and see hearts. We are supposed to celebrate together.
My coffee is cold now.
My heart is warm.
I offer a prayer up for my friend's hometown, and thank the Lord for mine, which suddenly seems not so small-town.
Then I remember that flag again. The sacrifices for liberty.
The Lord's sacrifice for liberty.
And I remember the feeling of hope when Benjamin Martin decides not to give up.
How can we possibly give up?
Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots.Nurse Practitioner by day.Wife, mother, writer by night.Coffee drinker--any time.Find me at: www.anneloveauthor.com