I sincerely wish that I didn’t care so much about the state of affairs, and that my thoughts could just be about family and friends and fun stuff.

However, I struggle with sincere frustration about the conflict between my morals, my values, my lessons from Christian teachings and the current state of affairs here in the Florida Panhandle and in our country, especially the racism, bigotry, and mistreatment of our neighbors — yes, neighbors — who come to us seeking help, safety and protection from horrific circumstances.

The two first commandments are to love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as you love yourself. What is “mission” work if it does not mean sharing the gifts with which we have been blessed with the less fortunate? The most precious gift we give to honor God is to give our “first fruits” to him, and use that fruit to the benefit of those who are suffering!

I cannot sit silently — and, by my silence, condone — what I perceive as the most egregious violations of the ideals of our Judeo-Christian heritage on which our nation was founded.

God has blessed us mightily and we have the responsibility to share those blessings abundantly with others.

May God have mercy on those of us who perpetrate or support violence, harm and dehumanization against the least of us — and by us I don’t mean just Americans. We all inhabit the same planet and want the same things in life no matter what language we speak, no matter the circumstances of our birth. The greatest among us was born in a barn, walked barefoot, wore a dirty robe and spoke Hebrew. Remember, we turned our backs on him, too.

We must walk the walk of kindness, generosity, love of neighbor, not just talk the talk.

How we treat others in our community, our state, our nation, as well as internationally will be our legacy in the fabric of the American quilt.

What will be your answer when your maker asks you what you did that makes you worthy of his mercy?

Marlene “Myke” Atwater, Valparaiso