A few things are on my heart this morning. We are living in strange times and it is easy to become discouraged. I have, however, found some recent events to be inspiring.
- On Thursday night I ate dinner with a friend at Mogadishu Grocery here in St. Cloud. I was looking forward to the Somali food but experienced an unexpected source of joy. The food was wonderful, the people were welcoming but what was most touching was the celebration that was underway. Somalia has just elected a new president which gives Somali people everywhere hope of a lasting peace, for the first time in decades. The pure loud exuberant joy expressed by the Somali-Americans at Mogadishu provided a surprising lift to my own spirits.
- On Saturday afternoon my daughter and I attended a benefit for a community member faced with extraordinary medical expenses. The turnout for this event reminded me that we are a community of love. We do not live in isolation. We live in community. We determine how we live as a community.
- On Sunday morning I listened to stories of six individuals who had just returned from a mission project in Mississippi. The stories of the way in which their work touched the lives of others and filled their own hearts brought me to tears. The love among humans is amazing.
- On Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending, with a friend, the Minnesota Youth Symphony Winter Concert. The tickets came to me through a generous act of sharing, pride and appreciation which is another story. What I want to comment on here is the beautiful, talented, dedicated and diverse group of youth who comprise these orchestras. The complete commitment of all involved (including performers, parents, teachers, conductors and artistic directors) was evident. As I listened to these performances and watched the culmination of decades of dedication, I experienced more than music. I experienced a surge of hope for America’s future where the ability to “play well with others” is alive and well.