While my little family and I were walking around the Cherry Blossom Festival last weekend, the folks of Arlington, Wash.’s lives were being changed forever.
The last report I read was that 14 bodies had been discovered underneath all of the mud and debris.
Of all of the devastating things that could wipe out a town — a tornado, a flood, an earthquake — a mudslide is not one that has crossed my mind, ever.
As I walked around looking at all of the vendors that were set up, smiling at kids’ ice cream-covered faces, and listening to the sounds of local entertainers, my mind wasn’t on any kind of travesty.
But for the families of those 14 people who had taken their last breath that day, their eyes will only see sorrow for this next season of their lives.
Because of my childhood, my upbringing and the events of Sept. 11, I try to have a keen sense of my surroundings. But nothing in the world could ever prepare you for such a loss as the one people are experiencing in Washington. Nothing.
How easy it is for us to go about our daily activities and forget what the purpose of each day is. We’ve gotten entirely too caught up in self, stuff and stone throwing, that we’ve forgotten that we were all put here to tell others about Jesus.
As I scanned the hundreds of pictures of Arlington, one picture in particular has stuck in the forefront of my mind.
It was a picture of a lady whose husband is still missing. She has no idea if he is alive or dead. As I saw a picture of her being comforted by some of her neighbors, you could see the utter blankness about her. She looked as if she was completely lost.
There are so many people walking around like the lady in Arlington; they are completely lost. Now, I don’t know if that lady knows Jesus or not, I pray that she does. But, there many people in this world who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. Those people don’t have Him to lean on in times of trouble and complete devastation.
The relationship with Jesus — the most important thing — is what this world is missing.
I look at people sometimes and I feel as though you can see straight through them. They may try to cover up the broken heart with a smile stretched across their face, but their eyes give them completely away.
What’s my point to all of this?
While you and I went about creating new memories last weekend, others experienced Saturday, March 22, 2014, as a day they will never forget, a day their world changed forever.
I know that tragedy often has to happen for some of us to wake up and remember that our purpose on earth isn’t all about self — but it is for others. We were put here to love one another, and in doing so we are supposed to love one another so much that we can’t help but tell this lost world that Jesus is the answer to all of their needs.
I pray that the lady mentioned earlier in the column knows that His peace surpasses all understanding. And I pray that we as Christians remember that our lives, too, can change but in a blink of an eye.
Love one another this week. You never know if that person you just smiled and waved at was the last encounter you’ll ever get with him.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.