How Irish does that sound? This is a lyric from my favourite musical called Come From Away which tells the story of one of the kindest acts in history. (I would recommend listening to it, it is very Irish sounding and you will weep!)
20 years ago, when planes crashed into the twin towers it caused 38 planes full of passengers and crew to go into panic, frantically trying to think of what to do, where to now land and how to calm themselves down. The planes landed on an island located on the North East tip of North America in Gander airport, Newfoundland. Naturally, the locals panicked but automatically went into helper mode, thinking of ways to house, feed and entertain 7,000 new residents (or family members as they now put it!) Gander is a small town and community where everyone knows everyone, and it is very community focused – very much like a small rural Irish town. With only 500 hotel rooms existing in the town, the locals cleared spare bedrooms and living rooms, churches cleared halls, schools pushed back furniture and every piece of floorspace in every possible building was soon occupied with pallets, blankets, air beds and people from 95 countries from around the world.
During the first night in Gander while ‘the plane people’ were glued to phones and the news watching the scenes in New York on repeat, the people from Gander spent the night making food and gathering supplies. The Mayor at the time said, “all we did was make sandwiches”. History was being experienced, worry was taking over, and uncertainty was looming throughout the town. However, the people of Gander reassured, showed love, and spread light in the smallest and easiest but yet, sincerest of ways.
There is a lot that can be learned from this story. Humility, love, kindness, and a listening ear can triumph.
It reminds me so much of our Ignite family and all the things that we do, seen and unseen – especially over the past year. We have made such an effort to stay connected, be real and keep our same level of care and love deeply rooted in who we are as a family. Meals cooked and dropped off, shopping bought, prayers prayed, flowers delivered, cards sent, phone calls made, hospital runs done, treats shared and so much more. Like the community in Gander, we are a community of light bearers, love, humility, and without thought (in the best way possible!). When someone is struggling physically, mentally, spiritually, are in a crisis, experiencing grief, without thought, we are praying, we are on the phone and we are thinking what we can post or drop off to them.
I guess this random blog is some encouragement but also a thank you? A thank you for the continuing support, love, and prayers you have shown to me over the years whatever stage of life I am in. I know for a fact everyone can say the exact same thing, so I speak on behalf of everyone. Whoever is reading this (if you have got this far – well done ha!) I am sure you have encouraged me in some way and have also been encouraged by someone else in our Ignite Family.
“On day one there was 7,000 strangers, day three were 7,000 friends and on the 5th day we lost 7,000 family members”. Tragedy and hardship bring a community together and for some this will be relevant in their experience of Ignite the past year. It has been such a blessing seeing some people become more active, involved, and more open in discussions and on Sunday mornings.
We are a community of love, kindness, humility, and wisdom, which has been elevated and cemented over the past 12 months for sure.
God is at the centre of all we do and that is so evident.
Continue the support, love, and conversations.
“A candle’s in the window and the kettle is always on”.