God help those blessed-are-the-poor who quietly live out their lives in Rural America. Who surf the world through satellite dishes. Who grow giant gardens and eat and can all that they grow. Who consume pickled cucumbers and zucchini bread at every meal.
Blessed are those who work with their hands to make everything better. Who are stewards of their most humble abodes. Who make handmade screens to cover their windows. Who buy giant garden hoses to water their lawns even though their roofs have fallen into disrepair.
Blessed are those who hang out the laundry on warm August mornings. Who make homemade basketball goals for boys with dreams — and time. Who partially brick their asbestos-sided houses. God help those who try.
Blessed are those with no money for shingles. Who hold down their roofs with bald tires and boards. Who add more tires in spring when tornadoes descend like villains over the innocent prairie.
God have mercy on those who cannot sleep. Those who are stalked by the memories of a whirling mass of carnage.
Blessed are those who throw small-town festivals. Who bring their communities together to celebrate watermelons, peaches and yams.
Blessed are those who try to make their towns better.
Blessed are the rich of whom much is required. The rich who raise funds to restore theaters. Who give generously to football boosters and local food pantries. Who help the chambers bring the carnivals to town.
Blessed are those who zig zag pennants down Main Street. Who paint the local hardware store purple to match school colors.
Blessed are those who keep things going long after they’ve passed their prime.
Blessed, blessed, blessed are those preachers who show up every Sunday to empty oak pews and baptisteries, dry. Who prepare full sermons for nine people and live in parsonages with broken air conditioners and leaky roofs.
Blessed, blessed, blessed are those who try.