…of sidewalk chalk and other things

April 9

There is an elderly couple that lives in our neighborhood. They have a number of medical concerns and as you might imagine, have been spending a disproportionate amount of time at home these days because of the COVID-19 virus. Our family knows them, and so our daughter Stephanie, the most creative of our family, decided to do something. Above is a picture of the sidewalk chalk art she drew on their path and driveway.

In my mind, sidewalk chalk art is something elementary school kids thrive on. I never had the idea of making a drawing outside someone’s house to brighten their quarantine, but she did, and I think it certainly turned out really good.

I was grocery shopping this week and an elderly lady was breathing hard through her facemask to reach something on a high shelf. I got it for her, something you do a lot in grocery stores when you’re six feet tall. However, she thanked me profusely and apologized for her face mask. I assured her that it was perfectly fine and that I understood wanting to take protections.

Along the same lines, you hear about groceries, toilet paper, paper towels, and other scarce items being left on the doorsteps of households with needs. Were these all great acts of compassion? No, they were little things, but they were people trying to help others out of love and service.

We’ve been seeing a lot of these stories crop up in the media of late; a welcome relief from all the other media coverage of COVID-19. However, I am confident that for every “heartwarming story” on TV and social media, there are hundreds or thousands more that never make the news. As Gandalf says in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, “I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”

Why am I focusing on this? It seems that in many aspects of life, and particularly in the policy world, things can get nasty very quickly – the opposite of the aforementioned stories. People sometimes have less-than-honorable intentions, tell only parts of the truth that are useful to them, or hold grudges far too easily. That is not how God ordained us to live, and certainly not how He wants us to conduct ourselves on policy issues, even if you read only a small portion of the Scriptures.

It’s also not the way Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota® operates. With us, “what you see is what you get”. We conduct ourselves in ways that seek to honor God and recognize that each person has worth and dignity in the eyes of God. This sometimes means swallowing our pride or at other times letting things roll off our backs.

Not too long ago, an internet site generally opposed to our stance on key issues, wrote a disparaging blog about one of these weekly emails. It used words like “self-righteous”, “sanctimonious”, “pathological liar”. My wife and children found it upsetting; I found it a bit humorous since it was so over the top that it actually became entertaining. More importantly though, I wear it as a badge of honor. Although certainly not my intent, if we at Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota are generating that level of dissonance, we must be having an effect in promoting family values here in our state.

I want to close by extending an offer. If the blog writer is ever quarantined and needs sidewalk chalk pictures to lift his spirits, if he wants someone to go with him and run errands, or if he needs extra paper towels, we will do our best to help him out. Family Policy Alliance of North Dakota is there for everybody, including him.


Mark Jorritsma
President and Executive Director