Tuesday, July 31, 2007

To witness or not to witness....

After writing the previous post, it occurred to me that my "urge" to make anyone and everyone aware of the Patriot Guard Rdiers is rather like witnessing as a Christian. This morning, in a business meeting, after all business had concluded, I found myself telling all of them about the "mission" on Sunday.

We all "witness" in some way or another. We tell each other about that great [your favorite restaurant, spa, or service] and what a positive experience we had. In my life, I look for things that promote the presence of God, and how he works in our everyday lives. When speaking of these things, some nod absently, while others enthusiastically tell you their own stories.

Since becoming a member of the Patriot Guard, I have found yet another way to "witness", since I know without a doubt that God has worked another miracle in touching the hearts of this group. Telling people about them grabs their interest. Many know nothing of them, as I also did not just a few months ago.

In my other self-centered life; trudging along, making ends meet, and looking for that next "big thrill", I was blissfully unaware of what was going on in my own backyard. Many times I had fleeting thoughts of how I could contribute to my own community and the lives of others, besides my church, but the small sleepy town I lived in (in the northeast), preferred to keep to themselves and they didn't let outsiders in too readily. I lived there eight years before coming to Florida.

Making a move from the northeast to the southeast was not a crisis for me. I grew up in southern California, moved to the northwest in my 20's, relocated again to the central west coast in my 30's, and then again to the northeast in my 40's. I've been all over this country in my line of work, and even to europe a number of times. I'm often asked, "where the heck are you from anyway??", as I have picked up favorite nuances of the various accents from everywhere I go.

The thing I've taken away from each place is how strangers are treated, and how local residents treat each other. I chose the south, for the Florida panhandle is truly part of the "south", while the rest of Florida really is not, because I fell in love with the "southern" hospitality and the way they treat each other, and the way they treat strangers. From the first day of living here, I became one of them, in spite of my strange speech and northerner ways. I must say I'm warming up to that southern kinda "thang". People smile more and are rather "touchy feely". I rather like that. I think people smile more because the sun shines more, or maybe it's just me. When I ride out on my bike, and pass my neighbors walking the dog, or a child riding his/her bike, they wave. My neighbors came over and introduced themselves to me the day I moved in. Another neighbor helped me move some heavy things into the house (yep, I moved myself and while doing so I often thought to myself, "what the heck was I thinking?"). I live alone, but I've never felt alone here.

Since I don't have a trailer for my bike, and I needed to move it out of storage into my new garage (it had a flat tire), I thought, well I'll just search online for a motorcycle group who might help me. That's when I ran across the Chrome Divas (http://tallahasseefl.chromedivas.com/), and I emailed them. Within hours I had offers of help. As it turned out, another new friend enlisted a friend of a friend, who arrived with a trailer, loaded up my bike, and delivered it into my garage. But my connection with the Divas was to be a straight line to some new and very wonderful friendships. I'll be posting more on my rides with them later on.

So, getting back to my conversation this morning - telling these people I had previously never met about my experience with the Patriot Guard Riders, really lightened my day. They listened, they smiled, they touched me lightly with their hands, and I knew they could feel the excitement I felt. They all asked for the URL and seemed genuinely interested in reading more about them.

I'd say that's witnessing for the Lord, wouldn't you? How many people are just "looking" for a way to contribute to the world, or even just their own community? How many want to support our troops but haven't found the right way (for them) yet? How many are like me and hate the war, but love our men and women in the military and stand behind them 100%?

We all have some miracle or another to tell someone. The PGR is mine at the moment. This is God's work at His best. What else provides hope for a better future than God's work? Those men and women over in Iraq need that hope. They need to know that our country stands behind them. I'm one voice in the midst of over 100,000. I think they hear us.

To witness or not to witness; it's not a question for me. One of those people, surely, will go to the PGR website, and they'll tell others. Perhaps they'll join. RC posted a comment to my first blog, and he quotes [someone] who said, "One voice may be a whisper but a thousand can be a roar". And I say.... exactly.

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