If you watch the news every day, you begin to think that the world is becoming more and more hateful. You don’t see much good news. It seems that “love thy neighbor” has pretty much gone out the window. If we disagree with someone, it becomes personal. That is too bad.
But sometimes, adversity can bring out the best of this wonderful world. A fire. A tornado. A flood. A hurricane. Natural disasters seem to bring people together.
There are often memes on social media with the line, “Why I live where the weather makes my face hurt!”
Many of you know our story of Susy. Susy is Will and Jen’s daughter. Our youngest granddaughter. A couple of months before she was born it was determined that she had no left ventricle in her heart. Basically, half a heart. It was a shock. It would require multiple open-heart surgeries, the first when she was two days old. The second three or four months later. With more in the future. And possibly a heart transplant many years down the road. Will, Jen, and the boys packed up and lived in an RV in the hospital parking lot for months this summer. The neighbors were caretakers of their ranch and put the hay up. And Susy was born.
And this past weekend they held a party to celebrate Susy and help with her medical expenses. There are not a lot of people in Harding County. It is sparsely populated in the northwest corner of South Dakota. But to the people that live there, children come first. Always. Whether it is the county fair, the school, or life. You all know the saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” They take that to heart in Harding County.
It wasn’t only Harding County. Friends and relatives came together from Colorado to the Canadian line. From Minnesota to Montana. Businesses and individuals donated more stuff than you could possibly imagine. Over 300 people enjoyed a great evening of visiting, eating, drinking, dancing, and bidding on donated items. There were saddles, star quilts, cribbage boards made from elk horns and oak trees. There was horse tack and artwork.
Will said it best in a little talk he gave. He introduced Susy and said how when this was discovered, “they felt they were unlucky. But now they feel they have been blessed.” They have a beautiful 6-month-old daughter who has gone through two open-heart surgeries better than you could have hoped and prayed for. They are surrounded by friends and relatives who have made this journey with them. Sharing their hopes, dreams, and prayers.
The people that have assisted are too numerous to mention. Their prayers are being answered. The gifts they gave to celebrate Susy were a testament to the fact that the world is still a wonderful, kind, loving place. Some gave thousands. And all gave the love and encouragement that keeps the family so strong.
Two young men, probably seventh or eighth grade students handed Will an envelope. It contained $38. $38 that they had made shoveling snow on weekends and after school.
That my friends, is why we choose to live in a place where the weather hurts your face.