When Gerrit was about 6, he got a Batman costume for Halloween. Then Karen’s mom made a Robin costume for Tuck by hand. It was amazing. Our dynamic duo was quite a sight as they dreamed up world-saving scenarios while playing with their friends. Gerrit really liked being Batman. In fact, he was so in-tune with the Caped Crusader’s persona that he started wearing his costume all the time.
Including when we went to the mall.
It was interesting to watch other people as our family walked through the mall with Batman at our side. We got lots of smiles. Often folks commented as they walked by that we certainly must feel safe! We told them that we surely did. Gerrit would just thrust out his chest, put his hands on his hips, and silently scan the area looking for any signs of danger. Being a super hero is a big responsibility.
Gerrit wore that Batman costume almost everywhere he went for nearly a year, but eventually he traded it in for a football uniform. In due time, all three boys got them. Being the fan of an NFL team is an equally great responsibility. In addition to showing your support by wearing the uniform there is the added duty of having to watch your team whenever they are on TV. This is important. It’s not widely understood how it works, but if you ask most men they will confirm that the course of a televised game can be changed if you concentrate hard enough. That’s why it’s imperative that we not be disturbed when our teams are on; whole seasons may hang in the balance!!! :-)
One thing we tried to emphasize for our boys was that they belong to a long line of honorable men. They were born into an identity. The family names of “Burke” and “Tucker” are not just historical information; they represent an assignment to live up to the traditions forged by men of character over many generations. Men who served in the military during war and at peace. Missionaries who spent their lives planting churches in foreign lands. Firemen. Deacons. Farmers. They lived at different moments in history and faced different circumstances, but each of them shouldered the responsibility of caring for the family name and then proudly passed it on to the next generation.
And now it is our turn.
It’s important to have a sense of our place in the grand scheme of things. We are born with the understandable assumption that everything that has happened in history before our arrival has been leading up to the glorious moment of our appearing on planet Earth. Then we get to be about two years old and start to realize that not everyone is on-board with that vision. This can lead to a great deal of discontentment with the world.
Some folks never really get past this stage.
Others get a glimpse of a different vision. In it, the story of history leads toward something far greater than any one person. The chapters already written provide tantalizing clues to where the story is going, and the end of the book promises to be more wonderful than we can imagine.
The thing is, it’s up to us to write our part of the chapters in between.
Sometimes it can be hard to see how our tale has much to do with where the main story is going. We feel like bit players. We do our best with what we’ve been given, we try not to mess things up too badly, and we hope for the best. It’s hard to imagine that we could possibly have much impact on history.
But it turns out that we are not bit players at all.
In fact we are the sons and daughters of the King about whom the main story is written. The lessons of history before us have been written by the King to equip us for this time and this place. We’ve been given a mission. There will be challenges to face, and some of them will be great, but it is our turn to do deeds about which tales will be told.
We have been granted a place in His story, because we belong.
So what can we do? There’s so much need in the world, so where do we start?
We can start by just noticing the people around us, the “invisible” people who inhabit the routine of our lives. We can care. Instead of rushing by, we can greet the Walmart cashier with a smile and take the time to ask about her day. It only takes a moment. We can even greet her by name; it’s right there on their name tag. And the next time we’re in Walmart we can look for her again.
It matters to be noticed.
We can find out the name of the lady who empties the trash at our office and then thank her by name the next time she comes by. We can leave a cold bottle of water for the mail man or the guys on the garbage truck. If we’re there when they come by, we can greet them too. Put yourself in their shoes. How nice would it be to know that there will be a cold drink waiting for you every week at that particular house?
It matters to be remembered.
The world is filled with so-called invisible people. Many of them are children caught in the grip of poverty. It’s our task as children of the King to notice them. We may not be able to fix the circumstances for all of them, but one-by-one we can make a difference. It just takes a moment.
Click on the Compassion link below and look at their faces. They’re people who want to be noticed. They want to be remembered. They want to belong.
Start a new chapter in the King’s story. It matters.
originally published 9/26/11| next post Wooden Spoons