On Matters of Reflection and Prayer

Published 10:03 am Monday, July 18, 2016

Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury

May artists of the world be tender–brushes poised to capture on canvas their impressions of a troubled world.

For the rest of us, though, perhaps the closest we can come to artistry is to spin life’s color wheel, praying its arrow will land on blue, remaining there for a while.

People of goodwill are of like mind: With all that is being sorted out–in Dallas and throughout the land–law enforcement personnel are on the front line. They forge ever forward, working extra hours when many of us would prefer going back to bed, pulling the covers over our heads, wishing the world to go away.

When ugliness and hate boil over, men and women of blue are there. Sometimes ultimate sacrifices–like those made by the five officers in Dallas–cause us to reflect deeply on their worth.

That defenders of peace are able to remain calm in the chaos erupting without warning seems miraculous enough. That they keep coming back for more in a profession whose parameters of danger balloon ever larger seems even more unbelievable. It is what “blue do.”

Much is made about what matters. Yard signs of opposition to bullying first appeared a year or so back. “Kindness Matters,” they proclaimed. Kindness does matter. Surely it is an admonition we all can claim, in attitudes of reflection and prayer.

With assumed agreement that life matters–as does death–may we then commit to reflection and prayer. Someone said, “Yesterday is history, and tomorrow is hope. Today is getting from one to the other as best we can.” May our attitude about the living of this day–and all future days–abide in the belief that the same God who has intervened in the affairs of humankind throughout history remains in charge.

   When first learning of the Dallas mayhem, I thought of a challenging song from the 1950s–Let There Be Peace on Earth. The words “and let it begin with me” are included in all five stanzas. (Please consider reviewing the lyrics, reflecting on the message of the song’s entirety.)

Unless we embrace a renewal of our faith in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, we’re all subject to drowning in a growing ocean of tears. The opportunity to renew such a bedrock belief lies within each of us.

Ironies abound. A few days “before Dallas,” a “jail break” occurred in the holding area in the Parker County District Courts Building’s basement jail in Weatherford, TX. Eight prisoners saw the lone guard slump forward. Likeminded to help, they stormed the locked door, simultaneously yelling to authorities upstairs, fully cognizant their commotion might invite lawmen with guns drawn.

Moments later, authorities arrived, firearms drawn. Guns were quickly holstered and prisoners soon were back behind bars as the jailer–without a pulse–was resuscitated. Authorities said the prisoners’ quick action saved the man’s life.

The inmates–none seeking recognition or praise–simply thought it the “right thing to do.” This statement was made by one awaiting trial on charges of assaulting a public servant. Such irony.

Community “reach-out” activities are born regularly. They occur when folks assemble, communicate and commit to working cooperatively to make life better for others.

In our town, Burleson, TX, the library has a new program for homebound folks. They can request titles for mail delivery. There’s no cost to participants; even for return envelopes already adorned with postage.

Our “Meals on Wheels” volunteers go extra miles. They also periodically deliver food for participants’ pets, calling them “animeals.”

What’s happening in your town? Are there programs of encouragement? Are you helping? For many years, I handed out diplomas to graduates completing degree requirements. Imprinted thereon were the words “rights and responsibilities.” If “weighed” on scales, they should be evenly balanced. Too often, the “rights” side is heavier.

Balancing the scales could strengthen our hope not only for the “sweet by and by,” but also for the living of the “bitter here and now.”

Here’s hoping you’ll manage a happy tune this day. How about Let There Be Peace on Earth? And if you cross paths with members of the blue, extend deepest thanks.


   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web Site: www.speakerdoc.com. Columns archived at venturegalleries.com, newbury blog.