Once upon a time, in a land of beautiful trees, fields and sunsets, there was a little town. She was a happy little town. A town filled with loving people. A school filled with caring teachers. A community who rallied around its own. A community rich in history and love of God.
Still, she wasn't a perfect little town. She had problems. She had times of happiness and sadness. She was dealt life punches but came out unscathed because of the support this little town had from those who loved her.
Parents allowed their children freedom to explore the town never fearing safety for their own. Children peddled their bikes as fast as they could down sidewalks, roads and through the ball fields. Soon the sidewalks began to buckle as the beautiful trees grew straight and tall down the main street. Children would pop wheelies over the bigger drops in the sidewalk. But, some children also took some falls over those uneven spaces. Roots from the trees liked to shake up the sidewalk over the many years.
"Time for change," was the cry. "New sidewalks for everyone!"
Cheers were heard across the land as residents of this little town jumped aboard the sidewalk train. County commissioners planned and held meetings. And, soon a plan was formed and grants secured.
"Woohoo! New sidewalks will make this old little town sparkle and shine!"
The little town was happy she was getting a face lift in the form of new sidewalks. She danced with the hundred-year-old trees who lined the main street. The trees were happy for now they had new sidewalks to shake up.
Then, came the day the happy, little town was told her trees, the trees who caused most of the sidewalk decay, would need to be cut down. Oh, the residence of this happy, little town cried, "Not fair! Not the trees. We love the look the trees give this town. We are unique! We won't give up without a fight."
A meeting was held. "It's too late to stop this," was heard. "No! There has to be another way. We must save the trees." Yet, others said, "We need new sidewalks. Think of the safety. Someone will get hurt if they trip over an uneven edge."
Petition drives were commenced. "Help us save the trees. The animals make the trees their homes. The fall won't be the same if the trees are cut down."
This story, above, is true. And, the "fight" is still going on. I'm not going to say which side I'm on since I'm not a resident of this little town. Will I miss seeing the trees with the tops kissing as I drive into town? You bet. Do I think safety is an issue walking down those sidewalks? You bet!
However, what I'm most concerned about is do we, as humans, have this kind of drive and determination for things other than sidewalks and trees? Look around. People. People are hurting in this world. People are lonely and just waiting for someone to notice them. People are crying out all around us and, at the moment, most of the talk, in my very small corner of the world, is new, improved sidewalks vs saving trees. (don't get me wrong-debate and democracy is a great thing)
Children are being stolen and sold into human trafficking. Families become indentured slaves to put food on the table. Wives are being beaten by husbands (and vise versa) and are too afraid to tell anyone. A child fears for his/her own life in what is to be a safe place, home. A new mother in a non-friendly Christian country is sentence to be executed because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Girls in India are being killed when they are born or soon after just because they are girls. Girls will cost the family money as the family will have to pay the grooms family when she is married. Drinking water is dirty, therefore, making children and adult sick.
A basketball game has more cheers than we, church going people, give someone who has just accepted Christ. A baseball player who just hit a home run has more congratulations and encouragement than someone who feels called into the mission field to proclaim Jesus to others.
Yes, the little town has helped and shown an outpouring of love for down-on-hard-times people and those with medical needs/expenses. But, let's not make the "battle" over sidewalks and trees the only claim to fame for this little town. I love seeing the passion and determination on both sides of this fence. It is a mighty good, little town with even finer people.
But, let's, also, use the fire, determination, boldness and passion for others who are outside our little town. Think about how we, as a community, could make a difference one person at a time.
Praying the passion the residence feel will bubble over outside the community so others can see how great this little town really is....
Just something that has been on my mind. All opinions are mine and only mine.