Monday, September 05, 2005

Please and Thank You

Everyday, I repeat these words a thousand times as I teach and train my little charges to exist in the world in a pleasant and orderly way. "Silas, say please." "Kinley, don't forget to say thank you!"
Over the last week, I've been reminded why I spend so much time on those simple words. I'll tell you why...

We have been watching the catastrophe of Katrina escalate and ravage.
Unfortunately, we do not have choices for which American news network we can watch. We are forced to endure the politically biased messages of CNN (did I say that outloud?).
I am frustrated and dismayed over the angles and stories CNN reporters and producers continually choose and chase.

For days we (and the international community) have seen images and stories on CNN. People demanding help with curse words and accusing everyone under the sun for their pain. CNN and its reporters continually hammer the message "too little is being done", "work is too slow","chaos exists", "NO ONE is helping". We've often had to switch the TV off to protect our children and our own selves from the words being chosen as people plead for help.
Many people see these images and are fed only negative messages. And we wonder why people think badly of Americans. Could it be our own news agencies feed negative information to the world in their own efforts to get the "gritty story" (and the most viewers and thus the most money...). Just a question. Okay, I'll admit it. Its an accusation.

Occasionaly, a calm person is put on the screen. A person who asks for help and prayers,without offensive words. Someone who explains the situation and analyzes what needs to be done. That is a person we listen to. A person we can hear.
It is possible, and very admirable, to be calm in the face of disaster. And it saves lives over and over again.

Jeff and I have wondered about the stories not being told. Coast Guard rescuers, FEMA workers, superdomes opening up, churches providing food- shelter -clothes, a Weather prediction system that alerted us TWO DAYS ahead that the storm was coming, Lousiana citizens who drove out of New Orleans in an orderly fashion... we haven't been hearing very many thank you's on CNN.

Several years ago, Jeff and the church members here in Ft. Portal were involved in aiding catastrophe stricken people here. They spent days driving food, medical supplies and people to help those who had lost everything. The days were long and unbelievably, thankless.
I remember one evening in particular when Jeff dragged in exhausted and more emotionally spent than normal. He related some of the events of his day and at one point, his eyes filled with tears and his face lit up. In the midst of a chaotic mess of people, one woman approached their truck and said, "Thank you." He described the words she said, the look on her face...he remembered every detail.
At that time we remembered the story of 10 healed lepers. Men who because of a horible sickness, lost everything. And in one amazing moment, a man named Jesus, gave them everything back. Was he showered with overwhelming gratitude? No. Only one man came back to Jesus and said thank you. It was, apparently, a moment worthy of mention because it is included in holy scripture. A Thank You.

So, for today, in this cyber world I will use my space to say, "thank you." Thank you to all who are going without sleep and sacrificing their time, money and resources to help. Thank you to Louisiana and New Orleans citizens who showed kindness to each other as they evacuated. Thank you to the weather experts who gave warning in advance so lives could be saved. Thank you to the heroes who may never get airtime.
I know you are out there serving. Because it is America we are talking about. And my America is full of heroes.

I will continue on this quest for manners with my children. You never know in this big 'ole world what amazing circumstances may land my children in front of a camera or allow them an opportunity to speak to the world. I pray they will choose words that are effective and kind...and bring blessing to the hearers.


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Lynn said...

What an absolutely beautiful blog. May I send it to the OA? You are an amazing woman. I love you!

Cheryl said...

Thanks Dad! Sure you can send it to the OA. I needed that encouragement today. I love you too. Cheryl

Lori Ann said...

That is so true. Thanks for your thoughts on it. Ron and I were just having a similiar conversation on the news angles. I would not like only having CNN for my news! lol.
Have a wonderful week. It is back to school for our kiddos in the Northwest! (I am still not used to that yet, being from the midwest)

kristi w said...

We have felt a bit helpless up here, not being able to give hands on assistance to those who are hurting. I was so appreciative of the reminder on Sunday when when one of our ministers reminded us to focus our prayers on the churches of those areas. There are so many generous, loving, caring people who are taking time off of work, opening their homes and churches, providing meals, and doing all of those other great acts of service that should define our existence as followers of Christ. So a loud thank you is just the right call!

Amy said...

What a joy it is to see your kids and hear your wise and Godly words.
Thanks for the great blogs!
Amy Owens
long lost friend

Trisha said...

Hi Cheryl!
As always, your words encourage and inspire me to want to be more than I am! You would be proud of your fellow Americans, and even Texans(!) and Tylerites for how they are serving the people in need.

I'm so glad to find your blog, my friend! I've been thinking about you today, and here you are--live and in color (pink--my favorite!) in cyberspace! How fun!

New Life Church launches this Sunday, so we're in full swing. We are coming to love Odessa!

I'll save more conversation for another venue! Love you!

KMiV said...

Thanks Cheryl, you have some good points for us "spoiled folks" who don't like to wait for anything. It would be nice to see a story on all the soldiers, FEMA workers, and coast guard servants helping.

Jim Coffey said...

Talked to your dad today. I'm here in houston in the middle of katrina relief. I don't sleep much since the levee broke - burning the candle at both ends. More details on my blog\daddy_o_daddy_o

Lynn said you've only got 4 kids ... weenie - I've got 5 nyhaaahaahaa

God is good - god's people are good, and as best I can tell, none of god's people seem to be on CNN.