“We don’t need, no more trouble.” (Bob Marley)

My hometown of Olathe, Kansas achieved international notoriety this week when a drunken loner killed an Indian immigrant who worked at Garmin in the same department as my son. I’m not going to retell that story. I can’t explain any part of it so I’m not going to try. It just serves to illustrate a bigger point I want to make regarding humanity.

After another long and stressful week on the road, I was elated to have my Saturday off because my long drive got cancelled. I’ve been fighting a virus for the last week so getting one day off to rest was a Godsend. Well, almost. About three o’clock the phone rang and I could see it was from my office. I could have ignored it and pleaded ignorance later but I chose to answer it in spite of my common sense. It was an all too familiar refrain, 14 year old boy runs away from a bad home and ends up in the system. Permanent placement was not available yet so the kid would be moved every two or three days till a long-term residence could be found. He was waiting in the Kansas City office for a ride down to a home close to the Oklahoma border. At this point I pleaded my case for not going because I felt like heck but then my boss told me his name. Obviously, I can’t use it here but he was clearly from a Muslim family so I took the job immediately. If I hadn’t, he would have sat there till midnight waiting for another driver. I took some more cold medicine and headed out for my first experience with a Muslim client.

I never got the whole story because he barely spoke above a whisper and my head was so congested  I just couldn’t hear. We stopped at McDonald’s for his only meal of the day and he seemed to enjoy his shamrock shake but he still didn’t talk. I let him listen to his choice of radio station till the signal died. At that point I plugged in my iPhone and put my iTunes library on shuffle just to see what might pop up. If I ever needed a reminder of how great God really is, this was it. In His infinite wisdom He chose the following play list: Like Jesus Does by Eric Church, Everybody wants to go to Heaven by Kenny Chesney, Judge Not by Bob Marley, Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson, Spirit in the Sky, Elton John’s cover version of Norman Greenbaum’s song about Jesus, YMCA by The Village People, Shake by Mercy Me and I Will , by Allison Krauss. I never really got a reaction out of my young friend except when he laughed as I tried to do the hand signs during YMCA. I really should download, Jesus take the wheel. Maybe not, that might be pushing my luck a little too far.

We arrived at our destination, which was way out in the country, on a beautiful starlit night. The temporary foster mom was a wonderful lady. We conversed for a few minutes and shared the little information we had between us. She added that she was waiting for two more who were in police protective custody. They arrived with the sheriff just as I was leaving. So to sum up all the peculiarities of this particular drive, we have a Muslim child being transported by a lifelong Protestant to the home of a devout Catholic while God chooses the most spiritual music He could find on my phone. Only in America would this ever happen and thankfully it happened in the Great State of Kansas just days after a great tragedy. I’m sure glad I answered the call.

The moral of the story is simple. We must help each other whenever the need arises. The bitter truth for me is that the loner who killed the immigrant lived in my neighborhood and I may have crossed his path more than once in the 30+ years I have lived here. It makes me wonder if I said hello or even smiled at him? Maybe if I had and a few more had too he wouldn’t have succumbed to the temptation of alcohol to relieve his loneliness and pain. Shame on me if I didn’t. Smiling and polite acknowledgement of another human being’s existence is about as easy as it gets. We ALL see these people every day – the loner who walks funny, or talks funny, or acts funny and we just pass them by staring at our phones or acting like we’re in a hurry. And then, when we read about their tragic life in the paper we feel shocked that anyone in our neighborhood could ever be that bad. If we search our hearts honestly, the reality becomes all too clear. We could have done more.

I’m lucky because I get paid to help children every day. For 50 hours a week I get to make a huge difference for foster kids. All I have to do is answer the call. That still leaves me with 62 hours a week that I’m not sleeping when I could be smiling at loners and talking to strangers and showing respect for others. I wonder why that never occurred to me before now ? Why is it that tragedies like this have to happen before it hits home? I’ve been alive for 63 years now and every day that I keep breathing is another opportunity to make a difference for somebody else. As I pulled into my driveway last night around midnight, Bob Marley was singing, “We don’t need no more trouble, what we need is love…” Do you think God was trying to tell me something?

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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8 Responses to “We don’t need, no more trouble.” (Bob Marley)

  1. gwenna says:

    Of course, God was telling you something, just as he uses you at just the right time to tell others many things. Your willingness to answer the phone is the Godsend!

  2. Adenia says:

    Heartfelt reminder, Guy. Thank you for your story. We all have a calling from God. Bless you for listening to His calling every day. We can all strive to follow God’s leading more closely.

  3. Dick Kuhn says:

    Guy, Super job…..appreciate and enjoyed reading your writing. Think you are right on. Hope your cold is better. Along with the many great things our great God provided this week, there were certainly some difficult ones like the shooting at Austin’s and the death of little Jude Bohn, whose family attends Colonial. Thanks again for all you do for the kids. They are so fortunate to have you with them. Take care and be safe. Blessings, Dick


    • grhgraph says:

      I just want us all to try harder every day and not wait for some tragedy to get our attention. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus wanted too.

  4. stormy1812 says:

    It can be difficult for me on occasion to look up and smile at strangers because of a shyness or lack of confidence on my part but I’m trying on a daily basis to be better about it! I couldn’t agree more that the little things mean so much to people, all of us. I’ve always been a big believer that God speaks to me through lots of different ways and just whatever happens to pop up on an iPod is no different 🙂 Great post! hope you’re feeling better!

    • grhgraph says:

      Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, when a woman smiles at a man it can be misconstrued very easily. In your situation with your innate shyness maybe you could focus on smiling at children. The kids I deal with every day need all the positive attention they can get and a friendly smile is a great way to start. If we all start being extra kind to children maybe we can keep them from becoming bad adults. I had a 15 year old girl with me on Monday that was born in Russia and brought to America by an elderly couple. After a year the family broke down and she’s been in the system for years now. Today is her birthday so I offered to buy her anything she wanted at any restaurant we could find but all she asked for was a QT slush. She barely smiled and spoke so softly I could hardly hear her but I did all I could to encourage her and give her some hope for a better future. I know it’s not much but if even that much helps her then I did my part. God doesn’t expect us to move the mountain by ourselves but he does want us to pitch in. I think if you smile more at children your shyness will gradually subside. It worked for me. Have a great life, Jen.
      Thanks for the comment.

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