A work assignment that brings me to Nebraska for two weeks out of every four has given this Canadian a wonderful opportunity to become immersed not only in the passion and pride of American culture, but in the generous nature of the Heartland.
It was my first Memorial Day, and one of my welcoming local friends invited me to join her, along with many other community members, to put up more than 900 American flags in the small town’s Memorial Park before the ceremony. My desire to see this world from an insider’s perspective rather than just an observer’s, allowed me to enthusiastically accept her thoughtful invitation.
Following the emotion-filled service, conducted under a sky filled with waving red, white and blue, we wandered over to see a display of military memorabilia from this little American town. Scattered among these reminders of the past were hundreds of postcards written to veterans by local school children.
It was quickly obvious that the teachers must have given the children some examples of what to write, because table after table was filled with postcards that contained the same three messages, except for this one, written by Emily. “Thank you for protecting the good.”
I stood and stared at the postcard for a long time, contemplating this big message from such a little girl. For me, its meaning goes far beyond the original intention of the postcard, and flows into every aspect of living.
As I absorbed Emily’s words, suddenly Mike McCardell jumped into my mind. Mike is a reporter for a local news program in my home province of British Columbia. For more than thirty years Mike has wrapped up the last five minutes of the six o’clock news with a feel good story, celebrating the people and places of Vancouver. Some BC-er’s would even go so far as to say that Mike’s segment is the best part of the program - the only reason they watch the news.
His lens on the world and his eye for the human condition has always inspired me to look for, and even protect, the good in everyday life – to make a conscious decision to celebrate what’s right.
In a world that can often be preoccupied with the bad, I am grateful for guides like Emily and Mike who remind me to seek, celebrate and protect the good...in myself, in others, in life.