Finding hope for Ukraine

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, March 1, 2022

 In all the years I have been a columnist I have never come up empty when I sat down to write, but today was a first. My headspace was filled with negativity, and I certainly didn’t want to share those thoughts with you all. The sensitive soul that I am the Ukrainian people and their plight inundated my mind with negative feelings and doubts. I genuinely thought that the days of Russia trying to dominate and intimidate were over, but unfortunately, this was not the case.

It seems so uncivilized to invade a sovereign nation, but evil lurks. I happen to count a native-born Ukrainian as my friend so that just made things worse in my mind. As a sat wondering what in the world I could say when I had nothing good to say an old hymn came to mind. I looked it up on YouTube and found Guy Penrod’s version of “Count Your Many Blessings”. At first, I thought, How can I count my blessings and be happy when so many are afraid and suffering, but sadly someone is always afraid and suffering so that didn’t make sense.

As I listened to the lyrics my mood began a subtle change, and I put my computer away for a while. I spent some time visiting one of my dear friends and our easy flow of conversation and comradery further eased my mind. It’s strange for me to think that all these years the flow has always been so easy, but the sorrow of people thousands of miles away stopped that flow, and I couldn’t find words. 

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When I heard today that the Ukrainian people had held the capital overnight when many were afraid it would fall I was so excited, and began to pray instead of fret and worry. The Bible says that there will always be war, but we can pray for cool heads to prevail and for the safety of the Ukrainian citizenry.

I remember as a little girl in maybe the first grade our class was herded into the hallway at school. We had to sit with out heads to the wall and our hands covering our heads in case of an attack. This memory is very vague, and I asked a couple of people if they had such a memory just in case it was some sort of dream or old movie I had watched. My friend’s husband, Jay, has the same memory from his elementary school days in Florida, but Joy had no such memory from her childhood. Funny how our memories work.

Edwin Starr’s blockbuster hit “War” made famous in 1969 is one of many anti war songs that came out in response to the unrest and discouragement many felt over the Vietnam War. I didn’t have a real understanding of war then or now. Although I do believe that there are things that we must stand up and fight for, what is happening in Ukraine is senseless and heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the people there.


Jan Penton Miller writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle.