Faithful Living

"Why do I keep forgetting?It is a question I asked myself each morning this week when I realized that yet another evening of Republican politics had been broadcast while I gardened, watched my daughter ride her horse, and sat out on my porch to catch any and all stray rays of sunshine. I missed all that slick programming without even a thought, each and every evening.I did not set out to boycott the event. After all, I was awarded a college minor in political science (even though my parents wondered what on earth I would do with such head knowledge!) and generally found conventions to be rather enjoyable watching.I was particularly fond of those people who cast their presidential nominations by first announcing live from the convention floor, The fine people from the Evergreen State of Washington, home of the world's best apples and a latte stand on every corner, do hereby nominate ... The political buttons, the banners, and all the hoopla had a place, always reminding me that a kid lives in us all and can occasionally be cast free without anyone laughing.On top of my natural interest, I grew up in a strongly democratic household built smack dab in the middle of Ronald Regan country. I can only wonder how many times my dad debated with the TV and told me it was worth my time to watch the political conventions as they were history in the making. And you were there! he would exclaim in his best teacher voice. I know he was right, as I distinctly recall being moved even as a young girl by such notables as Vice President Hubert Humphrey, one of our nation's last, great political orators.Then in 1993 my husband and I moved our three young children to Alexandria, Va., so Matt could work for the Secretary of the Navy on a short-term assignment. During one memorable afternoon, while dipping a Triscuit into the largest mound of salmon pate I had ever seen, I came to a new conclusion about national politics: it was no longer interesting nor noble to me.Realizing that I was merely a guest at the congressional reception to celebrate the passing of an important piece of environmental legislation, I had planned to enjoy the food and take in a slice of life from inside the Beltway with anonymity. What I could never have predicted was the silliness.Time and again congressmen and their attending aides glanced at my nametag, only to turn abruptly and walk away without so much as a greeting. I was nobody and any conversation would have been a waste of valuable time.While I reacted with quiet amusement and was certainly not personally offended, I did leave the reception relieved that God had transformed me, giving me the inner sensitivity to notice and the heart to care. He had, by example, taught me that this world is filled with somebodies worth dying for. And He does, in Scripture, continually remind me that when I serve in any capacity I am to think first of the needy and the unlovely. I am to spend my time making a difference within my spheres, being assured that millions of people, working to change the lives of folks within their reach, will make significant and dignified impacts in our society. Sound a bit like Bush's Thousand Points of Light concept in the '80s? I believe it probably is.But may I offer a new idea to add to the mix: Whatever you dive into service, make certain that your children, grandchildren, or youngsters important to you are watching. Make sure they see you serving so the secrets of service will be passed to the next generation. Make sure they benefit personally so they will deeply understand the value of your endeavors and can carry the torch when it is their turn.And if you are naturally drawn to causes, avoid the trap of over commitment. At times it is easy to forget who needs you most. If you cannot see a way to mix your personal responsibilities with outside interests, be soothed with the notion that there are appropriate activities for every season of your life. There will be another day to give your very best without creating another set of problems based on neglect.Let us never forget who needs us most.-------------Joan Bay Klope is a freelance writer and former editor of Christian books published by Gospel Light Publications. She can be reached at"

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