For twenty six days I have been reading The Scroll Marked V from The Greatest Salesman in the World. It starts, ” I will live this day as if it is my last.” I have been reading that chapter three times a day, and the phrase, ” I will live this day as if it is my last,” has been repeated multiple times. Yesterday a small town in the center of Kansas, my town…Hesston, experienced death as a shooter entered Excel Industries. Before the mass shooting ended four people were killed, 14 were hospitalized; with 10 of those in critical condition. “I will live this day as if it is my last.” It was the last for some in this small town. My community was under attack.
How does a small town and her people react to darkness? A town that yesterday was swallowed up by media, law enforcement, emergency crews and helicopters caring for the wounded, the dying…the victims. A town that today remains captured by media as law enforcement works to put the puzzle together. First you must know her people.
Hesston is a community rich with faith. Many of her residents are Mennonites who are strong pacifists. Others just as strongly support our military. Many dig deep to the core of themselves, to know themselves, to questions themselves and to challenge themselves. As a community we wrestle with ourselves and how what we believe effects others on a global scale. We are not perfect. Many of us have agreed to disagree.
On this day we hear the stories. Stories of persons who cared for others, stories of bravery, and stories of loss. One thing is clear, the darkness is not the victor in Hesston. Drive through my small town and you can see Excel lawn equipment parked by curbs with signs of support and prayer for this industry that yesterday was under attack and suffered the loss of three of her employees. You can see it in the actions of her people, the decision to fight darkness with light. Someone recently printed we can’t control the actions of others, but we can control how we act. We have chosen to swallow the darkness with light…the hate with love. We are choosing to grieve, to love, and to lift ourselves up as a community.
Hannel says, “The ability to eliminate imperfect conditions depends upon mental action, and mental action depends upon consciousness of power; therefore, the more conscious we become of our unity with the source of all power, the greater will be our power to control and master every condition.” This community is demonstrating that to me. Many are digging deep, to the power within. We are Hesston. We are Strong. “I live this day as if it is my last. And if it is not, I shall fall to my knees and give thank thanks.”