A few weeks ago, a 12-year-old girl named Guadalupe Galeno-Hernandez was shot at 34th & Chicago in South Minneapolis.  Guadalupe survived the shooting but is likely paralyzed from the waist down.

Gaudalupe Galeno-Hernandez











I pass through this intersection on a virtually daily basis.  It’s on my path to 35W, the highway that takes me almost everywhere I need to go.  I was safe at home when this act of terrible violence took place.  I had no idea it happened for several days.  Now, when I drive past the site of the crime, there is no evidence I can see.  Just a “normal” house.

How strange–thanks to Facebook, I know where my friend in D.C. went shopping on the weekend, or what my brother-in-law in Massachusetts made for dinner.  But I was clueless about the goings on a few blocks from my home.  Incidentally, I heard about the shooting via Facebook… an organization I follow wrote about it in a status update.

I have no idea what to make of all this.  I feel like something is broken, but I have no idea what it would take to fix it.  I’ve always appreciated the saying, “There, but for the grace of God go I.”  I don’t think that I’m a special recipient of God’s grace because (thus far) I haven’t experienced that kind of violence.  I don’t deserve safety and happiness anymore than Guadalupe.

Or, to put it another way, I can only believe that all human beings deserve safety and happiness.  Sometimes I feel like I squander the grace I’ve received.  Like any person, I don’t always value everything I have.  I complain.  I’m bitter sometimes, and angry.

But here is Thanksgiving, thank God.  Even in the midst of all the hubbub, it is a day that invites me to count my blessings and to wish blessings on others.  I’m keeping Guadalupe and her family in my prayers.

It’s a good thing to practice thanksgiving, intentionally, now and again.  Instead of puffing us up, I hope it actually keeps us humble.

As clichéd as it is, I am filled with gratitude–not to mention a sense of sadness and mystery.  I can deal with that.

I wish a safe and peaceful holiday for you and yours.


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One Response to Thanksgivings

  1. Bill Seeley says:

    Dear Abby,

    Your statement that everyone deserves “safety and happiness” is universally true — but sadly not experienced. Personally I have been both safe and happy most of my life, but there have been some frightening moments for me, such as a sunny day in 1967 when I was working as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India. I was on a routine bike ride from my little village of Mustoor to the larger town of Manvi, where all of the local government offices, many Indian friends and the main commercial hub of that area were located. After pushing my trusty bike through the shallow Tungabhadra River tributary that circled around the village of Mustoor, I hopped on by bike and started peddling along a well worn dirt path. After riding about 100 yards and picking up speed (e.g. about 15 mph) I spotted a large cobra snake on the path in front of me with its head raised in a strike position. In a split second I raised up both of my legs and swirved around the snake. I don’t know if it tried to bite me because I didn’t turn my head or stop to see its movements. I still remember the sigh of relief when I knew I had “dodged this bullet.” Unfortunately the young girm on 34th and Chicago was not that lucky. Why does God spare one person and not another? I can only deduce that God does not take control of the actions of billions of humans and animals who have roamed the earth for millions of years. Perhaps this is why God sent Jesus as both a role model of love, nonviolence and foregiveness — and as ‘sacrifial lamb’ to the forces of evil that surround us every day on this earth. I’m sure that cobra snake viewed my big body and bike as a threat to its existence. It was ready to use its only God given defense — poisen venum. I doubt that it intellectually realized that I was trying to avoid contact with it as much as it wanted to avoid the crushing weight of my bike wheels. Life is a strange flow of actions, counteractions — with a mixed flow of very good and very bad outcomes. As a professed Chirstian, I find myself constantly asking myself: What would Jesus do? What should I do? Peace. Bill Seeley