Long ago my wife decided that driving within the speed limit gives her a wonderful sense of freedom. She tells me, “I don’t ever need a radar detector. And I never have to slow down when I see a state patrol car or worry about paying a fine for speeding.” Even on long trips when the miles seem to grind slowly along, she sets the cruise control at the posted speed limit and enjoys the journey. “Besides,” she reminds me, “it is the law.”
Recently I was in a crowded shop- ping area when I saw a woman plowing her way through the crowd. What intrigued me was the message on her T-shirt, which read in bold capital letters, it’s all about me. Her actions reinforced the words on her shirt.
In her fascinating book Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise, Ruth Reichl reflects on her 6 years as a New York Times restaurant critic. Because she was the most influential critic in the country, top restaurants posted her photograph so their employees could recognize her. Hoping to earn a high rating in the New York Times, the staff intended to provide her with their top service and best cuisine.
In 1970, the Beatles began work on a documentary intended to show how their music was made. But instead of revealing the process of musical creativity, the film pulled the curtain back on a display of self-interest and bickering. The band members were more concerned about their own songs than the advancement of the group. Shortly after the project was completed, the group dissolved in disharmony and broken friendships.
A couple of weeks ago my wife met a woman who needed a ride. She sensed that this could be from God, so she agreed to take her to her destination. During the ride, the woman revealed to my wife that she was a believer but she struggled with drug addiction. My wife listened to and talked with this hurting woman. As she gave her hope for a better tomorrow, I believe that the woman experienced in some small way a little piece of heaven on earth.
When the horrors of war visited the civilians of Nanjing, China, women were not spared in the mounting violence and many were assaulted and killed. In this threatening environment, Minnie Vautrin took heroic measures to protect Chinese women from harm. Serving as a missionary teacher at Ginling College in Nanjing, Minnie cooperated with Chinese nationals, missionaries, surgeons, and business people and turned the college into a “safety zone,” a place of refuge for thousands of women and girls.