Sunday, November 22, 2015

I’ve Heard Worse; A call-out to teach compassion to our youth

  I’ve Heard Worse
"I've heard worse," He said to me.

My heart was pierced to the core. I could barely hold back tears as I said, "Lord, please work in my grandson's heart." I wept as he left the car for school, wondering why he could have no compassion for the situation I just talked about to him. Is it our home life, our example or the effects of a generation who seeks mindless pleasure online, with technology and the arrogance that brings? Or just the somewhat normal feelings of a boy his age, that he knows it all, even at twelve-years-old?

This subject came up as I was listening to an interview with Steven Curtis Chapman on the radio, a man whose family has experienced great tragedy and loss. I thought perhaps telling him the back story* of the man who possessed such joy as he expressed his love for music and the Lord, would be a teachable moment. Isn't that what we all look for with children, that moment where perhaps their hearts are touched and they remember it, long after we're gone?

“Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman and his family suffered a profound loss on May 21, 2008 when his 5-year-old daughter Maria Sue was accidentally hit by his 17-year-old son, after she ran into the path of his SUV in their driveway. Maria later died at a Nashville hospital.”

How could I raise a child with such a lack of compassion, Lord? What can I do about it? He barely spoke as he got out of the car. Maybe he was mad at my reaction to his words.

"I've heard worse."

Yes, I have too, but that doesn't mean I have no compassion for a family going through pain like that. Pain for the grief of losing a child. Pain for the guilt that you know the older son felt as the one who for some reason didn't see his little sister as she ran towards him. Pain like that affects a family forever, just as each family has their own pain and grief. Each family, I believe it's true, really does have their tailor-made cross, a cross that they can bear only with the help of a Savior.

Yes, I've heard worse and grieve with my other grandsons on the loss of their godfather in a motorcycle accident recently. A father and grandfather that in our eyes is gone way too soon from this earth.

Yes, “I've heard worse,” when I think of a mother grieving the loss of her children, praying for reconciliation at some point in their life, yet not knowing if that will ever happen this side of heaven.

"I've heard worse," when I think of older widows who have found love again but can't marry because of loss of benefits that they need to be able to survive financially.

"I've heard worse," as I think about those who live with chronic pain, so chronic at times they feel like ending it all.

"I've heard worse," when I think of all the little children who grow up in homes where their needs are not met and they take on the role of an adult to their parents. That's the only way they will survive, it seems.

"I've heard worse," when I think of all the children who are abducted for the sex trade and all the immoral people who say they are just giving love when in reality they have stolen the very heart and soul of a child. May they have a special place in hell, I hate to say, is something I pray.

"I've heard worse," as I think of all the aborted children and all the excuses politically correct people use to justify stealing the life from a new baby.

But just because I've heard worse doesn't stop the tears from falling. Oh, I've heard worse and perhaps the worst thing might be the rearing of a generation who are compassionless to real life and real people.

I once wrote something for a contest; it was supposed to be a horror story and one paragraph. It was about people who were so mindless that they stared into a computer or television set endlessly. When you saw their faces, there were no mouths. This was the evolution of a generation who were passive and only interacted with unreality and technology. The ability to communicate had been taken from them.

Lord, have mercy upon us all and join me in praying for the next generation. I know that good will come. I know that even in my young grandson's heart a strong man of God will be raised up from what looks like a cold, know-it-all heart. I know my Redeemer lives and on the last day He will conquer the hurts, conquer the pains and help us overcome.

I'm thinking a call-out to those in youth group ministry may in order, a call for a teaching on compassion, love and just old fashioned respect.

But I'm pretty sure the phrase; "I've heard worse" will forever reduce me to tears.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Do you love dogs? You'll love Rescuing Finley by Dan Walsh

Rescuing Finley by Dan Walsh will make a dog lover out of me yet!

As always, we find compelling characters and story lines that keep you turning the pages with Dan's books but this one really pulled me in. My complete surprise came when one chapter used the point of view of the dog, Finley. I have a whole new empathy for being a dog after reading that chapter. I was utterly charmed with the idea of getting into a dog's head and found tips on dog training along the way, too.

 Dan's wife Cindi's fingerprints were all over this book, I'd imagine, since she is an Animal Behavior Manager at our local Humane Society. Cindi Walsh has trained hundreds of dogs, both privately and in group classes. Dan admits that Cindi has been his primary consultant throughout this book concerning issues relating to PTSD service dogs. I've met Cindi and have often called her the Dog Whisperer as she is so knowledgeable about their emotions.  

One thing I especially liked at the end of the book was Dan sharing how the vision for the book series came about. "The idea for this Rescuing Finley came from spending time listening to Cindi’s stories and volunteering some of my time at Halifax Humane Society, our local non-profit shelter serving the Daytona Beach area. They support a local prison program that trains dogs, many who are adopted by veterans struggling with PTSD." (Dan Walsh)

Dan always does endless research before writing his books and each book ends up being a learning experience about either a location or subject. I think those fans who read The Restoration Series will be very pleased with the story lines as well as those who've read his stand alone books, such as "The Reunion" and "The Discovery." I can already think of several people who I'll want to give this book to as I know a whole slew of dog lovers and this book is a dog lover's dream. Being  the wife of a veteran  I'm always happy when there are stories focused on these unsung heroes also.

As the story drew to a close there were some chapters that left me weeping and yet I knew that there would be a good conclusion. I really, really enjoyed reading this book and can't wait for the next one to come out.


Rescuing Finley (A Forever Home Novel Book )