Jul. 21, 2016

"Yea, thought I walk through the valley of the shadow..."

 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (KJV) Ps. 23:4

Last time I wrote one of these blog pieces, I wrote about hope. My picture here is Emily, my Texas girl, who will be six on Friday. We have to hang on to hope!

Then so many horrible things happened all over the place that I was sort of overwhelmed. John and I have a stepdaughter, Barbara Fearing, who, with her husband Craig, lives in France, in Nice, to be exact, and her blog this past week related her experiences with the tragedy in her hometown where 84 innocent people died, merely because they wanted to enjoy the Bastille Day fireworks. Here are just a few of the things she said...

“Once again, France has had to hold an official moment of national mourning.  Communities all over the country, from small villages to the largest metropolises, gathered their local residents together for the traditional minute of silence and the laying of wreaths by the communes and other groups. Our village was no exception, and we joined in to show our personal sympathy with many of the local friends we've made. Because we try to be involved in our village, we know all these people, and it's quite sad to keep having to congregate with them for this type of activity. It just wasn't that long ago we did this before. After a few opening statements, several groups laid their wreaths at the war memorial that just about every community has had since the human devastation of World War I. Then everybody showed respect for the victims by a minute of silence, followed by singing the national anthem.  It was interesting that they also sang the local anthem, Nissa La Bella (Nice The Beautiful), although most of the non-native locals had to struggle a bit with the local dialect words.

After the official tribute by the local dignitaries, individuals added their contributions. Some lighted candles, others added their own flowers to the official ones. It seemed like most people didn't want to leave right away, despite it being the dinner hour. 

Having lived in large communities my whole life, it's interesting now to be part of a typical village lifestyle and to personally know so many of the people who tend to be fairly involved in local activities.  We do our expatriate best to join in.

Earlier in the day, the nation as a whole held a collective minute of silence.  Apparently there were some 30,000 people who attended the fireworks, while there were around 42,000 who came out in homage for the victims.





In chatting with others at our local event, I discovered a very sad story.  We are able to see several sets of fireworks from surrounding villages from our balcony, so we don't make the effort to hassle the traffic and parking to see the big Nice offering.  (We are so incredibly grateful they didn’t go!) While we watched the pretty presentation of one village across the river, a whole extended family from that village skipped their own display to go down for the big Nice event.  Six out of seven did not return home.  An adult son lost his wife, stepson, both in-laws, and both parents — his whole immediate family.

So I thought it interesting to see how the marker for the driver evolved between when we saw it and just one day later it was covered with garbage and people spat upon it.





And now I will leave you on a more positive note with how the outpouring of love for his victims continued to grow at the designated memorial spot since we were there the day before, and how it all looked surrounded by the show of solidarity by the locals at the official moment of tribute."


I wanted to share Barbara’s pictures and comments with you as they are so very personal. Our family erupted into panic and the texts and emails flew across the ocean to see if our French family was safe and many grateful prayers flew to heaven, knowing they were not there at this awful event.


If you’d like to see her continuing comments regarding the madness in Nice, her blog is entitled: “Entre La Mer & Les Alpes” and here’s a link: http://entrelamer.blogspot.com/2016/07/another-village-tribute.html#more

 “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (KJV) Ps. 27:1