As I sat on my couch last night watching the national news, my train of thought jumped from subject to subject. I thought about healthcare and taxes, I thought about anthem protests and gun control, I thought about where I differed from my fellow Americans. “Enough of this” I said to myself feeling frustrated trying to solve the worlds most complicated problems in my head so I turned off the TV and grabbed my nearest social media device to check out my fantasy football team.
In the process, I noticed a few alerts on Facebook. “What’s going on?” I wondered as my news feed was loading. Usually our community pages are filled with vitriolic discussion regarding city projects, taxes and/or petty complaints about other citizens and their actions when crossing a cross walk, riding a bike or operating their golf cart. And then something unexpected happened. My wife hollered from upstairs “there’s a kid missing!”
At that moment, my feed came up and I read about William, a boy my son’s age who goes to my son’s school and lives only a few blocks away had gone missing. My mind immediately began to play out the worst case scenarios in my head. “Is it safe for me to let my son walk two blocks to and from school?” I wondered.
Next, I began imagining all of the places a 9 year old could be hiding in our community. “Has anybody checked that fence between our neighborhood and the new school, the bathrooms on the golf courses?” I thought. Before I could finish that thought I found myself layering up and digging my giant flashlight out of my hunting pack. My wife, who was clearly as distraught as I was, asked me “Where are you going to go? What are you going to do?” I replied, “I can’t just sit here, I have to do something.”
As I took to the streets to search the areas I had imagined in my head, I noticed something. I was late to the party. The sidewalks, fields and parks were filled with flashlight yielding citizens shouting for William. You could stand on any given street corner and see car after car, literally seconds apart, out searching for William.
What I and many more witnessed was the best of Liberty Lake. The best of who we are. The best of humanity. I saw families out searching together, groups of dads, moms, grandparents and teenagers all searching feverishly for William. I saw the Liberty Lake community forget about what divides us and instead embrace each other in an amazing act of unconditional love. Love for one another that transcended politics, culture, religion and social status.
I felt an amazing sense of community and love the moment I took to the streets and it culminated when I was informed by another search party that William had been found safe. A sense of relief washed over me. Thank goodness William is safe. As I made my way home I began to feel another emotion, a very specific emotion that I personally hadn’t experienced since the Miracle on the Hudson River. Pride. I was proud of my community. I was proud of my fellow human beings. I was proud to be part of human kind. While the Miracle on the Hudson and last night’s search share very little similarities on the surface, when you peel away the layers at the core lays the same thing. LOVE!
In moments of desperation, people often at great personal sacrifice or danger come together to help others. Why? Because we love each other. Sometimes we aren’t as good at showing it as we could be. We all have different personality traits that are or aren’t cohesive that we allow to cloud our judgement and ability to feel and sense our shared love for one another.
I challenge you to continue to love and continue to share the love we experienced last night with everyone you can. The next time someone cuts you off to make the light at Liberty Lake Drive and Appleway, proposes a city project you disagree with or has too many items in the express checkout line at Yokes I challenge you to put things in perspective and respond with love. Love them knowing that if you, your child or grandchildren were ever in a truly desperate situation that they are the very same people that will sacrifice everything to help you, even if they aren’t expressing it at this very moment. Let’s take the love that we felt last night and feed off it.
Remember it, talk about it, share it, make it grow, do anything but let it fade away behind the curtain of divisive details from which it came. Today I’m thankful William was found, I’m grateful I can raise my family in this community and I’m proud that the community my family and I call home chose love.
Well Played Liberty Lake. Well Played!
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