Thursday, May 9, 2013

Just a Sign

I was taking Richie to school today, and I saw this.

If you know my oldest guy, you know he loves road signs.  He reads them without me knowing that's what he's doing, and then he likes to repeat what they say at random times.  Loudly.

I was angry.  So very angry that someone had nothing better to do than to run around town, likely under cover of darkness, and destroy community property.

I thought about calling and begging the city to do something.  But waiting for them to come along, clean the sign, take it away, or whatever they'd do just didn't seem right.

Then I realized something so simple... this is my community.  This is a block from my house, if that.  And on the way back from the post office, I saw that the same vandals had been at work other places in town.  So the sign on our street was just one more thing.  The city, I believe, would have taken care of it eventually... but it's a little close to entitlement to wait for them to do every. little. thing.

But it's not to us.  This is our home.  It's our city.  And while, when the middle school was vandalized, all I could really do was pray... but this is one sign.  It's low.  It's accessible to me, the road isn't terribly busy.  The nature of our community is small-town rural America, black top roads with little discernible edge, let alone a curb.

So after a Google search and a cheap trip to the dollar store, I plodded down the alley, along the road in my flip-flops and mommy jeans to the sign.  And wipe by wipe, scrub by scrub, I took that sign back. It's not perfect, but the word is gone.

In a tiny way, I defended my community's culture.  The culture I want for my community, anyway.

It's easy for me to click "Like" on a Facebook page.  It's easy to sit here and write about what I think, and what we need to do to make the world a better place.  But while I'm worrying and discussing all the things that I think need to change, I don't step out of my house to make MY city a better place very often.  So many of us have opinions about world events, sacred and secular, and there are so many who do great things in making a difference out there.  But sometimes, I fear, we get so wrapped up in the outside world that we forget our little world.

And what's the world made up of?  A ton of little worlds.

Please remember that what I did was small.  It was simply my unwillingness to have my son memorize that sign.  Without a child who can and does read these things and memorize them, and who will spout off what he's memorized wherever he is and pretty much as loudly as he wants, I might not have been as motivated.

But it's stirred an awareness of what it means to be a culture maker in my city.  And that doesn't necessarily mean I need to run for office, start a program, or do anything huge.  It does, however, mean I should do what's before me, what's within my reach, to preserve, to improve, and to just be a good steward of what we have.

And if it's there again tomorrow, I will do the same.  We love our little corner, our small but good city.

Thanks be to God for motivation, Google, and non-acetone nail polish remover.    

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