Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hope Remains.

I don't know how many people who read my writings here pay attention to the news, but there's a local story that's gaining a lot of national and even international media coverage that I felt I should mention here. On Friday, police and FBI found Ben Ownby, a 13 year old boy who had been abducted five days earlier, in an apartment in Kirkwood, MO (St. Louis suburb). Unbelievably, in the same apartment they also discovered Shawn Hornbeck, a boy who had been abducted almost five years ago when he was 11 years-old. Finding Ownby alive days after his disappearance was a blessing, but finding Hornbeck was a double blessing. The day after the discovery of the boys, the St. Louis Post Dispatch was headlined "A MIRACLE!" I can think of no other way to describe the rescue of the two boys. There are a lot of strange things about the case and as more facts are discovered, the case will become even more bizarre. I'm writing about this here because it's re-opened my eyes to a couple things.

One, I'm going to pay more attention to posters and milk cartons that have pictures of missing children on them. When I was a kid and until about half way through high school, I used to memorize those things when I would see them. Maybe it was because I watched too many episodes of UNSOLVED MYSTERIES or had seen the movie about Michael Walsh's kidnapped son one too many times. I grew up in a small town, a fairly safe town, a town that feels like something Normal Rockwell would have painted. I never had any reason to feel unsafe, but as a kid, I had a lingering dread that I would be kidnapped. When I got older that fear was replaced by the fear that could happen to my siblings. I don't remember when I stopped paying attention to missing kid flyers. I guess it was sometime in high school. This case has shown me that I need to pay attention to those things again.

The other thing I've been shown has to do with hope. Hope is a precious thing, so precious that it's one of those things that's really hard to define. Hope isn't optimism and it isn't trust, though it is tied to and similar to both of those. Hope is something unique. The world needs more hope. I wish I could say that I'm always a hopeful person, but I'm not. I've lost some hope in my life. I used to be a very hopeful person. I'm still the guy who tries to see the best in every situation. I'm a very forgiving person. I'm very easy going and amiable. However, I'm not as hopeful as I used to be. I've been battered and bruised on the journey of life. Idealist thoughts of naive youth have been replaced by the knowledge of realism. Life is hard and difficult. Sometimes very good things happen to bad people and that quite often very bad things happen to really good people. People are in pain and suffering the world over and things are just going to get worse. I see and hear people's dreams dying on the vine because of the harsh heat of life bearing down. I've lost some hope in my life, but a few days ago I gained some of it back. Two young men who had been kidnapped in friendly neighborhoods close to home were found. Like many, three days after Ben Ownby was abducted, I assumed that he was dead in a ditch somewhere. As for Shawn Hornbeck, I thought his body was lost in the Mighty Miss. The rescue of those two children proved me wrong. Yes, the world can be a terrible place and we shouldn't fool ourselves into believing that things are going to drastically improve any time soon (only Christ's return will do that). Pandora's box might be opened, but hope remains. Hope remains.
On Friday I did something eccentric. I rented a car and drove to Springfield, Missouri to audition for SURVIVOR. I've applied for every show except the first two seasons and have only missed one episode in 13 seasons. I don't know why I'm so drawn to that show, but I am. It's an amazing, though exceedingly challenging game. I just want an opportunity to play. So, I've sent in tape after tape after tape (sometimes more than one). Last Friday I had a chance to audition in person and I took it. It's kind of crazy, but I am kind of a wild and crazy guy. I probably won't make the cut, but that's okay because hope remains.

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