Last week, my dad passed away…isn’t that hilarious?

Last year, my next door neighbor’s kid was diagnosed with Leukemia…ha ha!!

A couple weeks ago, my cousin and former classmate died from COVID-19…LOL!!

Ridiculous, huh?

But, I use these examples to make a point, and let me get right to that point.  Why would someone ever put up the laughter emoji in response to someone’s suffering, or worse yet, to someone’s death?  Please stop.

I’m referring to the posts on social media that relay stories of people who have been dealt serious illnesses or deaths due to COVID-19.  Listen, I get it.  So many people are passionately divided on issues brought up by this virus.  To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?  Which sets of data are we to believe?  Is mandating masks for the sake of health overstepping our constitutional freedoms?

I hope that the folks that are putting up the ‘ha ha’ emoji in light of these tragic stories are laughing not at the fact that someone has suffered and/or died, but at how the COVID-19 narratives in the posts go against their beliefs and opinions.  Even if that is the case, I find that type of emoji in these cases very disrespectful. You can civilly state your case in the comment section if you’d like, but don’t laugh.  A family is dealing with the loss of a loved one.

In Mark, chapter 12, Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment.  To paraphrase, love God with all that you have and all that you are is tops, but He goes on to state that the second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  It doesn’t matter whether a person is a stranger, a criminal, or someone who is directly opposed to our beliefs, we are to show love, mercy, humility, compassion and understanding.  Many times, that’s not an easy thing to do, but it’s what God expects of us.

There’s a lot of suffering going on in our community.  A lot of people are dying from this virus.  Instead of pushing an agenda either way onto a social media post in which someone has suffered or died, skip the emoji and ask what you can do to help the family. God has instilled into everyone of us the ability to love without condition.  Let that shine, it’ll make you feel good, I promise.

I hope God keeps you safe and I pray that we all seek His truth and allow God to come into our hearts.  I pray for all those who have had to endure pain and suffering over the past 18 months due to this virus, and I pray that God heals the division in our communities, in our country and across the world.

By the way, concerning the beginning of this post, my dad died some years ago (2008), I’ve known many kids with cancer but not my neighbor’s kid, however, my cousin and fellow Class of 1982 graduate from Lockhart High School DID pass away a couple weeks ago from COVID-19.

Rest in peace, David.

Along the lines of spreading love and respect for each other, I pulled up some old photos from entries from a Father's Day contest, Mother's Day contest as well as Groveton ISD showing love to our veterans.

Showing Love in East Texas