Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Crystal & Alyssa -- A community's common love

At our most basic and humanistic level, 99% of us are selfish. Bigtime selfish. Oh we may not come right out and say it and some of us are pretty good at hiding it, but at the end of the day we just kinda want things the way we want it. We want everything on our timetable to our exact specifications and we want everyone to agree to the same. We want the satisfaction of getting our way at home, at play, at work and at church. We want everyone to agree with us, coddle us, and generally just play by our rules. And, by golly, if by some chance if even one of those things don't fall into place like it should, well, we will just take our ball and go home. So there. 

But.....every now and then something happens to pull the rest of us back to the other 1%. Something happens to me to make me forget about me and focus on someone outside of me. Sometimes that "something" is a really happy "something" that pretty much gets 100% of us pulling for the same thing, team or person (i.e. the Olympics). It could be something like a community rallying around a new business in the area or celebrating a group of teenagers as they walk across a stage and say "goodbye" to classmates they have gone to school with for 12 years. It could be a town gathering together to welcome home their local heroes who have been halfway around the world defending the freedoms that they enjoy. Those moments and others tend to help us focus on a common goal, on a common cause, on a common thing that we are all thankful for. Those are the moments that put a smile on our face and a song in our hearts. Those are the moments that unify the masses. 

But then there are those other times. There are those times when the masses are unified just the same but it's the result of heartache and pain as opposed to joy and celebration. The last few days our little community has experienced such a time. On Monday afternoon a 41 year old local hero was laid to rest after a 7+ year battle with cancer. In the minds of many Hickman Countians, Crystal Fitts became the "face of the fight against that stupid C word". Crystal valiantly allowed us into her world via Facebook, blogs, and community events. She and her husband Danny, along with their two children, showed us what it was to truly have courage and persistence in spite of overwhelming odds. Initially told she would be lucky to live 3 more years, Crystal refused to give up and lived more than double that. She and her family were able to rally this community in so many ways and unify us as her own support staff and encouragement pool. The fact of the matter is, most of us probably received far more encouragement from her than she ever did us. She unified us. We all wanted her to win. And guess what? She did win. As a Christ follower she has now gained that glorious prize that God promised her in His Word. We mourn for her family. We celebrate for her. 

As I type this I don't know that I have ever seen or experienced our community be more unified for one single cause than that of our plight and prayer for the recovery and healing of Alyssa Aydelott. Facebook is flooded with prayers of positivity and words of encouragement to the Wright and Aydelott families. Local business signs are making a plea for people to make a plea to Almighty God on Alyssa's behalf. It seems on a second to second basis that every church and household within the borders of Hickman County and beyond speak her name to the Great Physician in the sky. Through a set of tragic circumstances, a precious teenage girl has brought our community together unlike any other time in recent memory. We have been unified in our cause and are common in our petitions. We are unified in the belief that God has the power and capability to heal Alyssa fully and completely. We now patiently wait.

The situations Crystal and Alyssa and their families have found themselves in have proved something almost miraculous to me. These two girls have brought us all together. All people. All races. All genders. All denominations. All affiliations. Barriers have been diminished. Borders have been demolished. Isn't it amazing to see what can be done when we focus on a common and unified goal? Isn't it amazing what can be done when we channel all our positive energy toward the same receptor? Isn't it amazing what begins to happen when as a collective unit we stop worrying about "us" and begin worrying about "them"? Perhaps unbeknownst to them, Crystal and Alyssa have begun a long needed unity movement in Hickman County, TN. Bless their sweet hearts for being the reason for it to begin. Shame on us if we ever allow it to end. 

May God's richest blessings and deepest peace be upon the Fleming, Fitts, Aydelott & Wright families. You are on the minds and in the hearts of us all. 

"A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12)