By Marsha M. Brown
If you have read GIG LINE even a few times, you have probably heard me say that before I write it, I ask God to help me – to influence what I write with the hope that my column will touch someone; lift them up; make them feel better in some way; feel more appreciated; be reminded that every one of us is a gift; that we have gifts to give each other and that the greatest gift of all is love – free of charge…no shopping required.
When I asked the Lord into my heart, I was 17 years old; a happy teenager raised by wonderful parents that I respected and loved with all my heart. My parents taught me, as best they could, to be a good person, care for the elderly, the sick, the physically challenged; to love this country and what it stood for. Our home was modest, nothing fancy…but just right and because my grandparents had built it in 1936, it was the most special home I could have ever hoped for. Our life was simple…Daddy was a U. S. Coast Guard retiree and after my sister and I were older, our Mama worked as a very respected insurance agent. Things were so wonderful then. We did not have fancy things…no cell phones…laptops…or Internet…we had a single land line in the house, and it was enough. We ate our dinners together, having first thanked God for providing it, we talked about our day and many times we would eat a bowl of ice cream or some popcorn and watched the only T.V. we had…together…before bed; I kissed my parents and told them I loved them every night. We did not talk a lot about religion or faith or the joy of knowing the Lord on a personal level…but, we celebrated Christmas for its glory…that baby Jesus was born and at Easter, we knew the significance of that day, the sacrifice that brought it about and how He had affected our world forever. It was a simple but wonderful life and I would not trade it for anything.
When I watch the news today, I cannot help but wonder what kind of life the folks that riot, destroy, hurt and kill had in order to be so angry…so enraged…so out of control and it makes me feel bad. So much of this is uncalled for, so much is far beyond protest, so much is extreme beyond measure. And…when I think about all that negative energy being generated and what it would be like instead if all that energy went to good use – to truly help others understand a different point of view but in an organized peaceful manner, how productive their message could be. I do not pray against them…or anyone, I do pray for them to stop and think about how their message resonates and the lasting effects it will have.
And while we all grew up in different homes…with different parents…with different circumstances…with different incomes…with different hardships and different struggles, it makes me want to hug the folks (if I could minus COVID) and just remind them that all lives matter…that differences can be talked about and worked through and that we could accomplish so much more together. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” Matthew 5:19 is what the Bible, tells us right? I believe that.
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Trying to jiggle and juggle our own problems whether it be loss of loved ones, loss of business, inability to work, concern over our children, grandchildren and elderly vulnerable parents…whatever it is…imagine the pressure and stress of worrying about millions and millions of families across our nation…being responsible overall and being scrutinized for every single word, every step that is taken to make things better…there is no hard and fast playbook…no ‘How To Manuel’ in a crisis of this magnitude ever…imagine…just for a second…whether you like our current administration or not, what if we prayed for him? For his family members? For his cabinet? Golly…what a difference it could make if we acted as Americans united against those who want to hurt us like we were immediately following September 11 and not against each other.
Nobody deserves this…especially not our law enforcement officers…they do not. And we do not deserve seeing our neighboring states and cities (even with our differences) ripped apart like this. Life is fragile, uncertain and of unequaled value and with so many creative, smart, decent people across our nation, I cannot accept that it has to be this way…no, we are better than this.
Do I think that I am a bossy flossy Preacher lady? No…far from it – I am just plain ole me but a true lover of love itself for those close to me and far away too. I should know the Bible a lot more than I do but I do know love…r-e-a-l, meaningful love and I believe there is more love than hate to go around. God is the answer and even when the ‘answer’ is not what we hope for, He helps us get through it.
To anyone reading this, my hope is that you are safe and well…my hope is that you realize the blessings that surround you…and the blessing that you are to others, and even in the midst of this heartache of the virus, economics and chaos, I pray that your prayers are for good; that they are sincere, thoughtful and that they are answered.
An exceedingly kind man purchased some locally made masks for me to give veterans I meet when I issue the free Dare County Veteran Discount Card. The masks are crafted by the daughter of a Vietnam veteran who is homebound due to physical limitations. If you are a veteran and you do not have a mask to help protect yourself and others from COVID-19, please contact me either through my cell: (252) 202-2058 or my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ‘Discount Card’ of which I speak is issued through the Dare County Veterans Advisory Council of which I am a Member and Secretary. If you are a resident (through a lease) or owner of property in Dare County, you can acquire the free ‘Card’ that will save you money at over 100 businesses from Corolla to Hatteras Village. Requirements? We need to review your DD-214 showing Honorable Discharge and a Driver’s License (not required to be North Carolina). We do not copy or keep your documents; it is for review purposes only. The process takes about ten (10) minutes and we are eager to put it in our very deserving veteran’s hands. For more information, please contact me as noted above or our dedicated, knowledgeable Dare County Veteran Service Officer, Patty O’Sullivan at (252) 475-5604 or email her at email@example.com If you no longer have your DD-214, Patty can request a duplicate for you or we can tell you how to get one online through the V.A. Dare Countians love our veterans and we are grateful to you all. The ‘Card’ is a way for our Dare County/Outer Banks business owners to express their gratitude to you for your service and sacrifice.
Until next time, be happy folks…we are surrounded by haze and smoke right now but if you look hard enough you will see the sun and the beautiful Heaven above…things will get better…they just have to. I love you all and you know the drill…stay tuned.