After the end of a long travel itinerary and stressful driving in a strange place at midnight, I was just about to do some spouting off here about never flying again, never traveling again, maybe staying forever in our little spot of heaven on earth outside our tiny town in the wilderness–albeit our own plot of wilderness is now jungle. It would be easy to cover our eyes and ignore the rest of the world. Here, we have encountered only kindness from people who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome in our new home of eight months. In other words, we’ve been spoiled by the true hearts of salt-of-the-earth folk.
Of course, there isn’t a traffic signal for forty miles in any direction of our house. We see more pickup trucks, cowboys, and cattle ranches (and cats and dogs) than tall buildings. I don’t think there’s a building anywhere around, except a silo, taller than two stories.
Here in the wild, wild west, where the deer and antelope actually do roam, and truly, seldom is heard a disparaging word, we have been pampered in a whole new way. Since I avoid news stations, I had forgotten that there are a lot of angry people out there, taking out their ire on innocents around them, who in turn become angry, themselves. Manchester, UK, is the latest horror at this moment, and I’m praying for those poor people who saw their children wounded or taken from them by the evil that lingers on the earth.
So instead of focusing on rude airport employees, rude drivers, and stingrays hovering on the bottom of the surf where I was playing–which doesn’t even compare to the Manchester wickedness–I think we need to focus, at least for a while, on the good things. I’ve written my limit on the kittens I’m featuring in the pictures–though they are now the cutest little things on earth and we want to keep them all!–and focus, instead, on how we were greeted when we stepped off the airplane onto Nebraska ground.
The airport employees just east of the Wyoming border smiled and welcomed us home. That reminded me that other airport employees across the country also greeted us with courtesy and kindness, and that I should not focus on the few grumps.
(Brief aside, this is the cover of an upcoming re-release of my novel, The Wedding Kiss, designed by a good friend, Angela Hunt. More on this release later, but didn’t she do a wonderful job?)
So after that commercial, let’s continue. Despite a short sleep and a very bumpy flight the night before, as soon as we landed we were hungry, and we had to do some grocery shopping for the things we yet can’t buy in our hometown. Every smiling face, every helpful hand–every person who went out of his/her way to help us find what we needed reminded us that, yes, there were a lot of very kind people whom we encountered on our trip. The kindness just seems to be spread more evenly amongst the locals.
On our trip, I could have done without the television news stations blaring everywhere we went while traveling–all the back-stabbing and ugliness, which, to me, is simply gossip. The kindness of the people we encountered as soon as we arrived back in Nebraska reminded us that kindness is alive and well everywhere, just not with everyone, as it seems to be here. I’m sure Mel could have done without much of my bitter complaining when we were practically invited to return home as soon as we landed in Florida by some burned-out employees. Some people hate their jobs. We don’t hate ours. I think I needed to dredge up some compassion.
Rudeness is contagious, and so out there where the population is more squeezed together, that contagion reaches more people–sort of the way tempers escalate on Facebook sometimes. Like the flu or strep throat. In this part of the country, that contagion seems to die out more quickly because people are more spread out, and the rudeness is smothered with kindness.
So what I’ve discovered is that when life is flowing easily and going the way we want, we tend to let down our guard. I know I forget to arm myself with the Word of God. Even though we have verses from the Bible on the walls, and even memorialized on the sidewalk leading to our house, I, for one, am not soaking up the wisdom of those passages. Time to get back to the Bible and reload for the battles ahead, because there will be more battles. Next time I want to be prepared with kind words, not sharp comebacks.