I haven't felt "inspired" lately. That's a complaint I have exercised for the last several days. There have been no life changing events that impacted me or anyone I knew. There have been no wonderfully positive experiences. I have seen no miracles!

So, I look at the blank screen and I begin to read my own words and analyze my own statements. What inspires me? Who inspires me? Why do I seek "inspiration" before I can begin a journal entry?

Let's see - so far since my last entry tornadoes have devastated the mid-section of our country. One area much larger than the size of this town I love is completely gone! The Chinese are still hovering in terror over aftershocks that decimated entire communities. Our soldiers are still dealing with the terrorism in the middle east that will not allow them to come home.

Closer to home - We are entering into another drought in our area. The young boys down the road who lost their father at Christmas are becoming more and more rebellious-things are disappearing off of farms. Their landlord is trying to be a generous and kind man and working with them. So far he has refused to kick them out despite the complaints of his friends and neighbors. We are fearful that our "stuff" may disappear and these boys are to blame. Now their landlord is to blame. Forget forgiveness, let's convict them right now!

Maybe what I am seeking is an escape from the real world around me. I review the events, the media, the conversations with friends and family and the "inspiration" is everywhere. I have been spared on all accounts - my house is intact and no tornadoes are baring down on me. No earthquakes have rattled my world. No one has bothered my stuff - my dogs just seem too fierce. I'm glad they don't know the dogs are really wimps.

I did find my inspiration though. It's the neighbor who refuses to condemn young boys who are becoming young men without the guidance of a father figure in their life. He's exercising and demonstrating forgiveness and he's giving these boys a chance at redemption. He's demonstrating to them that God can and will lead a good man through his trials and tribulations. He's demonstrating to the rest of us that grace far outweighs revenge in the grand scheme of things. Living in fear of losing "stuff" can only come to a negative conclusion.

Would it be better for me, a "professed" Christian to condemn these young men and drive them away from our community, making it a better place to live, or would it be better for me to try to help them find a better way, lead them into the church, through the scripture and my own example and into eternal salvation? I'm not sure if I can succeed - no - I know I can not succeed. However, WE as a community of sisters and brothers, through prayer and continued grace demonstrated can succeed. Independently, we are victims or potential victims. Together we are a community, neighbors, a family. This family includes the rebellious boys or it should. You can't pick who God places in your path, you can only choose to either walk past them or stop and share the world with them.

I've said this repeatedly in my life - "if not for the grace of God", but I've failed so many times to realize that I too can demonstrate grace. Hopefully, one day I will get it right. Hopefully, one day, I will truly realize that grace is a gift from God to me. I can't give it as a "gift" to anyone else because it's my duty to reflect what I have already been given to others.

What "inspires" me? Everything in this world!

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