Last week marked the thirteenth year since that terrible September day in 2001. Each anniversary as the horrific images once again scroll across computer and TV screens I am profoundly reminded of the grief and loss. Yet it was this recent photo posted by Channel 8 from Western Montana on Facebook which I found myself most effected by. The moment I saw this image scroll up on my newsfeed I felt transfixed. It instantly brought tears to my eyes but for reasons unrelated to the events that inspired it.
This young boy and his mother had just driven by this lone firefighter outside the firehouse and, in his words, felt like he “had to do something.” After purchasing flowers he stood before this firefighter, a man he didn't know, saluting him for nearly two full minutes. The firefighter is likely an honorable man yet this doesn't appear to be what inspired the boy. Just a simple, yet powerful act motivated solely by the desire to communicate love and support.
As I prayerfully reflected on how this image affected me I realized that in my life simple acts of love have often been the most impactful. They come unencumbered with my need to weigh and evaluate their sincerity which allows them to penetrate without resistance. A reminder that if I am to grow in my capacity to be loved by God, in turn love others well, I must be willing to risk more, protect less.
I am grateful for the reminder. I will be paying more attention to the ways God will be calling me to do this very thing.
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”