So many times we go about our daily lives and believe that we don't influence anyone. We get up each morning and take on our daily routines — shower, dress, eat a meager breakfast, and head off to the office, or school. It's a mundane existence punctuated by occasional birthdays and holidays. But, the big picture of life is sometimes lost in the acts of everyday life.
It brings to mind four events that have occurred this week, that have, or continue to have, tremendous impact on millions of lives.
• Sunday, May 13 was Mother's Day, a day we celebrate the wonder, beauty and sanctity of motherhood. We gave flowers to mom, maybe took her out for brunch, and we told her how much she's loved and appreciated for all of the little and big things she does for us, which only mothers can do.
• Sunday was also the 90th Anniversary of the first vision at Fatima, Portugal. Almost a century ago, in a field near the tiny town of Fatima, three small shepherd children, Lucia, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta, were going about their daily chores and witnessed what they claim was the apparition of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus. The sighting transformed their lives and influenced millions. The apparition told the children that she would appear on the 13th day of the next five months. At the end of these months, she said she would show them and the world a sign so that all would believe.
On October 13, 1917, approximately 70,000 people witnessed what is now known as the Miracle of the Sun. The sun danced in the sky and appeared as though it would fall to Earth. Then suddenly, it returned to its rightful place. The ground, which had been sodden with rain, was instantly dry. And people's clothes, once wet and clinging from that same rain, were dry as well. There were also reports of miraculous healings.
The story of Fatima is fascinating from both a faith and science viewpoint. People of faith have never doubted the apparitions, while the curious are now more fascinated by the idea of a supernatural occurrence. But, whatever happened in Fatima takes a back seat to the message, that the institutions of Family and the Church were under persecution, and that all should obey God's Ten Commandments and pray daily, so that peace would come to Earth. It's a very mundane request given the magnitude of the event — could life's great moments be as simple as that?
• The next event this week was the death of Jerry Falwell at 73. Certainly this man was not known for remaining in the shadows — it would be hard to categorize the founder of the Moral Majority and Liberty University as a man prone to shyness. He was by all accounts a man who craved the spotlight and would speak on the public platform the same way he would hold informal conversations with close associates. That brand of communicating has its drawbacks, especially when he most notably remarked about gays and liberals being the cause of the September 11 attacks, and that the Teletubbies' “Tinky Winky,” was a front for gay recruitment.
But what's most interesting are the comments from people who knew Falwell best, the people who knew him in his quietest moments. Dr. James Merritt, a pastor of a large congregation in Atlanta, Ga. said he saw the part of Rev. Falwell that the public never knew. Dr. Merritt called him, "one of the most kind and gracious gentlemen you could ever meet." A female student from Liberty University called him "a father figure." Those personal opinions are stark contrasts to the public impression he gave the ACLU, or to GLADD, or even John McCain who once called him "an agent of intolerance."
• The fourth event this week was the very untimely death of Yolanda King, the eldest daughter of Civil Rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Her death is one that got very little notice, probably because of the overshadowing death of Jerry Falwell. Ms. King was only 51-years-old. She apparently died from a heart ailment. Her life was a testament to her father's legacy; all the pain and anger she felt at him being shot and killed in the prime of his life, were channeled into acting and her own activism for peace and tolerance.
The irony here is that Jerry Falwell had once condemned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and referred to the civil rights movement as "the civil wrongs movement." Falwell never learned to temper his rhetoric in later years, but no doubt learned the error of his comments about equal rights. Falwell and King were both men who preached from the same book and both had different understandings of what that book's main message should be.
But if you take the message of Dr. King and the message of Fatima together, and the mixed messages of Jerry Falwell, there is one voice crying for a return to faith and God's laws.
From an Alabama prison, Dr. King's famous letter called on members of the racist Ku Klux Klan — also Christians — to not abandon their faith, but to go deeper into it. Only then could they understand how wrong their racists ways were, that they were out of line with the teachings of the Gospel.
From Fatima, the Lady of the Rosary calls on all to consecrate themselves to her immaculate heart and pray daily.
And from the Jerry Falwell book of evangelicals, a voice says return to faith and orthodox lifestyle.
But whose voice is correct? Maybe all of them. Could they be just different views of the same sermon? All true, but all telling only part of the story?
In the quiet mundane life of three shepherd children, a voice from Heaven called them to come home. From a cell in Alabama, a voice of the wrongly jailed calls for repentance.
And from the quiet moments of a bombastic controversial preacher, a voice says, "Thank you."
We're constantly looking for the big moment, that one defining moment that we can point to that shaped our life. But more than likely it was a lot of little quiet moments that paved the way. The three shepherd children were quite devout. They always said their prayers, attended church and bowed to the authority in their lives. They were going about their daily tasks when a miracle happened.
A young man raised by a religious mother and an atheist father became a Christian in a quiet moment of reflection ... then turned his faith into an industry.
And a woman, who lived in the quiet shadows of her father's legacy, died in the same quiet way she lived ... going about her daily tasks, of influencing those she touched.
Which leads to the conclusion that there are no big moments in life, only the tiniest and most mundane events that eventually shape, mold and create who we eventually are known to be. Our daily routine now seems a lot less mundane.
Lauren Green serves as a religion correspondent for the FOX News Channel. Prior to this, Green served as a news anchor for “Fox and Friends,” where she provided daily news updates and covered arts for the network. You can read her complete bio here.
Lauren Green currently serves as Fox News Channel's (FNC) chief religion correspondent based in the New York bureau. She joined FNC in 1996. Her new book is "Lighthouse Faith: God as a Living Reality in a World Immersed in Fog."