Thursday, March 8, 2012

Love on an Atlanta MARTA platform, love of refugees and hate for Joseph Kony.

I have been under the weather for the last week with the flu. I was bed ridden over the weekend, missed work on Monday and went in on Tuesday because I was on the mend and swamped at work with deadlines that had to be met. I slogged through both a physically and emotionally draining day, leaving the office about 6 pm to catch the Marta train at Peachtree Center. I have ridden Marta for 15 years to work, with 5 of those being a daily commute back and forth from College Park, therefore nothing surprises me. I have seen, heard and smelled it all.

Tuesday, I entered a relatively crowded platform, walking towards the other end as that is where I would exit the train, observing the people I pass and the people around me. I settled into my usual standing spot with my nose buried in an electric device trying to stay up to speed on my night time job, which I love, but does have low points from time to time which adds additional stress to my existence. When out of the corner of my eye a beautiful well dressed brunette of about 22 years of age, entered my personal comfort zone, standing in front of me waiting for me to look up. As I glanced up, she said with a bright smile, “excuse me sir could you do me a favor?” Sure what could I do for you? “I think you need a hug and I would very much like to give it to you.” I smiled, looked around for the cameras and then felt that she was being very genuine and true to her word. I instantly trusted her, felt true love by what she said as I opened my arms to hug her as much as she hugged me. She then reached into a zip lock baggie and pulled out a paper heart, which she had cut from white office paper, handed it to me and said “I love you, GOD loves you and he made all of us so that we could love one another.” “Here is a paper token of that love, please reach out and share that love with those you touch.” I promised her that I would, I told her that GOD loved her very much and then thanked her for the beautiful hug. Three seconds later my train pulled into the station and I was gone without even knowing her name.

That night I hugged my wife and each of my three boys telling them that I loved them and GOD loved them. Now I have opened my arms and have shared the story (and heart) with you, find a way to pass it on.

Another story of love that needs to be shared comes from my friends Bob Lundsten, the Chief of Staff of DeKalb Commissioner Elaine Boyer and Pattie Baker, known about town as Sustainable Pattie as it is her writing passion. This dynamic duo cultivated a community as well as a garden where both would flourish to provide over 2,000 lbs of food to the local food pantry. This week they have branched out a bit to feed the Children of the World know as the Fugees here in Clarkston, GA. I will allow them to tell the story, here, here, here, here, here, here, here here and here.

Finally, a story of hate wrapped in love. Three days ago, March 5th, 2012 a video was posted to YouTube calling out to tell the story of Joseph Kony. The initial goal of the video is to make Kony famous through social media like this blog and in just three days the video has been viewed over eleven million times and I am guessing this will not be the last time you hear of this story. Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a guerrilla group in Uganda that has forced more than 60,000 children to fight in a murderous armed conflict. The video targets 20 celebrities including Dunwoody’s own Ryan Seacrest and 12 influential policy makers including Georgia’s Newt Gingrich, who are being targeted to use their influential voices to keep the deployed U.S. military advisors in Uganda until Kony is arrested. The filmmaker’s goal is a story of love for a friend in order to stop the refuges that are being caused by this conflict and though I am not fully versed in the political background, pro or con of the cause; open your arms, I am sharing this story too.


Pattie Baker said...

John: That was a very moving post. Thank you for sharing your MARTA story, and for giving the Fugees Family a shout-out. As for Invisible Children, I wanted Dunwoody folks (and beyond) to know that an easy way to help the Invisible Children organization is to drop books in the green Better World Books boxes (like the one at Dr. Priluck's office by Publix) as that is one of the organizations that BWB helps support. (And, by the way, not one book donated goes to a landfill, ever.) (Also, local business plug here, if you need a dentist, Dr. Priluck is truly remarkable, and gives back in many ways to the community.)

Dunwoody Mom said...

Thanks for the post John. Nice to read something so moving before the day gets started - puts things in perspective.

Glory_Jackson said...

Joseph Kony is definitely an evil man; however, you should do some research as to the accuracy of the video and where the charitable donations being solicited are subsequently distributed (e.g. what percent goes into film making, administration, etc).

Pattie Baker said...

Glory: I don't know the organization well enough, but apparently there has been some criticism, as you suggest, and I know that the organization did put out this response, for what it's worth:

Glory_Jackson said...

Thank-you Pattie. I had just put out a FYI to remind folks to perform their own due diligence prior to donating, as they should with any charity, which was initiated by my hearing discussion on a radio news program earlier today regarding the controversies.

No issues. Once again, thank-you much. said...

Wow, that is awesome. It's hard to believe that people can still be genuine today, especially on a MARTA platform! It reminds me of Random Act of Kindness that 11Alive does.