I did my best not to leave my house yesterday.
It’s cold and rainy and much more pleasant to watch winter turn into spring through the window, next to the heater by my desk, which is why I felt a little inconvenienced when an errand popped up that required me to go out into the blustery afternoon.
I drove down the green tree-lined streets of Newberg that are still brimming with life even in the cold of February. I crossed the one-way street into downtown and approached the normally busy outdoor food court that is currently sleepily waiting for better weather.
Then I caught sight of a group of a dozen or so protestors standing out in the cold under the town’s flagpole waving signs in the rain.
“What KIND of people are so passionate about something that they are willing to freeze all afternoon?!” I wondered.
“And WHAT in the world are they so passionate about?”
I got close enough to read their signs.
A lump formed in my throat and that feeling rushed to my heart. That feeling I get when I watch my sons do something really hard for the first time or when the flag comes by in the parade and everyone stands.
It’s that feeling I feel when I watch a youtube video about the first good happening and it makes me proud of humanity and thankful for the people that organize that kind of goodness. It’s that feeling of gratitude that fills my heart when I recognize how much good is in the world.
There they were…a group of teenagers out in the cold rain spending their afternoon letting people know that they are worthy of love and that they are not alone.
Their signs read:
BE WHO YOU ARE
IT’S NOT TOO LATE
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE
YOUR MISTAKES DO NOT DEFINE YOU
It was a message for everyone. In a country divided by political views and party politics, these kids found a way to do something universally good.
They are sending a message to the single parent who is returning home with a heavy heart to a house full of kids and responsibilities that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
They are telling the guy with a complicated past that YOUR MISTAKES DO NOT DEFINE YOU.
On a rainy unsuspecting afternoon, these teenagers are promising that junior high kid looking out the backseat window and thinking about the bully that ruins every day at school that YOU MATTER.
They are assuring that suicidal boy who is terrified to tell his parents that he is gay that it just might be okay to BE WHO YOU ARE.
They are sending a message to that woman feeling stuck in an abusive relationship that YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE.
They are reaching out to the recovering addict on the way to fall off their own personal wagon that IT’S NOT TOO LATE.
No doubt everyone standing out there in the cold has their own stuff to work through. They have heartaches and sadness, doubts and insecurities, AND they have chosen to look beyond their own situation and find a way to do some good right where they are.
I can’t think of a better way to forget about our own problems than to spend an afternoon gifting the whole town a little piece of hope.
What kind of people are these?
The very best kind.