The Face of Action

The Face of Action
Epiphany 37

We’ve all seen the pictures of the children who, as they walk alongside parents carrying all their earthly possessions, are the face of need. We’ve all seen the glamorous pictures of stars on a red carpet, complaining their privacy is invaded while they bask in the spotlight and wear the face of attitude and, perhaps, arrogance. We’ve all seen the pomp and ceremony of the really, really wealthy as they host lavish parties displaying the face of wealth and boredom. We’ve all seen the face of the working man/woman walking home trying to do the math in his/her head that will stretch a dime into a dollar, wearing the face of desperation. We’ve all sat in our most comfortable chair and, as we channel surfed through the offering of television, wearing the face of conscious thinking, “Wish I could do more.”

A young woman from Prescott, Arizona in the southwestern United States of America watched the glamorous red carpets and read about the lavish festivities of the rich and famous. She respected the working ethic passed onto her by her family. However, it was the image of the children that stayed with her. When she looked in the mirror, Kayla Mueller had an epiphany and knew she was looking at the face of action.

Today the world learned that Kayla Mueller was dead, the proof of such being provided by her captives, members of the group known as ISIS. They claim Kayla was the victim of a Jordanian air strike several months ago but since they had also once demanded millions of dollars for her safe return, that story is doubtful. What is known is who Kayla Mueller is and that she was on a humanitarian mission of charity when she was forcibly taken as she left a hospital. She posed no threat and was only in the region to help the children. Her captives viewed her singing and smiling with the youngest of their culture detrimental.

Her family today released the following to acquaint the world with their daughter. “Since graduating from Northern Arizona University in 2009 after only two and a half years {normal programs of study take four], Kayla devoted her career to helping those in need in countries around the world. The suffering of the Syrian refugees drew Kayla to the Turkish/Syrian border in December 2012, to work with Support to Life, the Danish Refugee Council, and other humanitarian organizations to assist families who had been forced to flee their homes. Kayla found this work heartbreaking but compelling; she was extremely devoted to the people of Syria.”

Their news release continues: “From her college graduation through 2011, she lived and worked with humanitarian aid groups in northern India, Israel, and Palestine. She returned home to Arizona in 2011, and worked for one year at an HIV/AIDS clinic while volunteering at a women’s shelter at night. Prior to her work in Syria, in December 2011, Kayla worked as an au pair in France to hone her fluency in French in preparation for her work in Africa. The common thread of Kayla’s life has been her quiet leadership and strong desire to serve others.”

I hope the epiphany and legacy of Kayla Mueller is that the face of action looks just like the one you see in your mirror every day. We can’t all go globetrotting nor should we. They are things we can do here. In his speech on the mall in Washington, DC, USA, fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated: “I have a dream.” His dreams were well-known among his friends and followers. He had great visions of the potential of mankind and how we could embrace our diversity. He saw each child as a gift and as the answer to the world’s problems if only that child could be treated as an equal and given the rights all mankind deserved.

They are programs in your town to assist the needy. There are women’s shelters in every large metropolis as well as soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Maybe you can clean out your closet and donate clothes to the needy. Perhaps you have nothing to share except your time; some homeless shelter would love your time. Maybe you could assist an elderly neighbor with their yard work or make blankets for orphanages halfway around the world. One skein of thread can make two hats for homeless children and crafts stores in every town will be happy to teach you how to knit or crochet.

Perhaps your skills are in construction. Volunteer your services and skills to help winterize or fix up houses of the needy in your area. Maybe a local library needs your time or talents. Children’s hospitals need volunteers as do animal shelters. Petting a cat or dog for an hour is a great service that costs you nothing except maybe the bus ride. Schools always need reading mentors and summer city programs are happy for volunteers.

Kayla Mueller believed in the goodness of mankind and the right of each person to live. She was the face of action yesterday but today, she has become the face of an angel. Tomorrow needs a new face of action. The world is knocking on your door. Tag – you’re it!

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