Wednesday I was at the beach. Two experiences stand out to me that I want to share. First, conversation travels quite well at the beach. No wonder Jesus preached from a boat on the water. Everyone could hear! Anyway, back to the conversation I overheard.

A group of seasoned adults were sharing their thoughts about the inauguration that occurred earlier in the day. The attitudes expressed were not especially uplifting. It made me think about my responsibility to the new governing administration. Three scriptures came to mind.

“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. 21He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.”

Daniel 2:20-21

7And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.

Jeremiah 29:7

{Solomon prayed…} 9Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong.

1 Kings 3:9

If I take these passages at face value, I trust that God is in control. My responsibility is to pray for my leaders and my country which will be to my benefit. Borrowing Solomon’s request when he became king of Israel, I pray for the leaders to have understanding hearts to govern well and know the difference between right and wrong.

This seems not only beneficial to me, but uplifting to others. It’s less comfortable to bad mouth someone for whom you are sincerely praying. I am still surprised and bothered by how easily I willingly put someone down, forgetting he/she is made in the image of God . . . which brings me to my second observation.

At one point in the day, I retrieved some pretzels from my bag intending to enjoy an afternoon snack. It was on my second pretzel that I was attacked from above by a gull nearly landing on my head in an effort to snag the pretzel. In moments, I was surround by squawking birds, eager to share my snack. My friend and I burst into laughter while I quickly concealed the pretzels in my hands and bent my head down to avert a crisis. This wasn’t the first time gulls stole our food but there was a young man behind us who was astounded at the gall of the birds.

Immediately upon seeing what he thought to be my sure demise, he leapt from his chair and came to my rescue. He had a few choice words for the birds and shooed them away, concerned that I was all right. It was such a kind, compassionate act. He didn’t ask what I believed or who I voted for; he didn’t make judgments of any kind. He just responded with compassion to my perceived plight.

I told my friend, “I want to be more like that — quick to respond with compassion and kindness.” I want to see souls, not adversaries; future friends, not enemies.

How are you doing these days? Is kindness your first response? Do you wonder how to support our leaders? Are you finding joy in the simple things of life?

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