Monday, November 18, 2013

God's Grace Visible: the Story of a Christian Mom That Went Viral

Perhaps you have received an email or a link containing this text of an open letter to President Obama:
Dear President Obama, 
I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for all you have done and are doing. You see I am a single Mom located in the very small town of Palmer, Texas. I live in a small rental house with my two children. I drive an older car that I pray daily runs just a little longer. I work at a mediocre job bringing home a much lower pay-check than you or your wife could even imagine living on. I have a lot of concerns about the new "Obamacare" along with the taxes being forced on us Americans and debts your are adding to our country. I have a few questions for you, Mr. President. 
Have you ever struggled to pay your bills? I have. 
Have you ever sat and watched your children eat and you eat what was left on their plates when they were done, because there wasn't enough for you to eat too? I have. 
Have you ever had to rob Peter to pay Paul, and it still not be enough? I have. 
Have you ever been so sick that you needed to see a doctor and get medicine, but had no health insurance because it was too expensive? I have. 
Have you ever had to tell your children no, when they asked for something they needed? I have. 
Have you ever patched holes in pants, glued shoes, replaced zippers, because it was cheaper than buying new? I have. 
Have you ever had to put an item or two back at the grocery store, because you didn't have enough money? I have. 
Have you ever cried yourself to sleep, because you had no clue how you were going to make ends meet? I have. 
My questions could go on and on. I don't believe you have a clue what Americans are actually going through and honestly, I don't believe you care. Not everyone lives extravagantly. While your family takes expensive trips that cost more than most of us make in two-four years, there are so many of us that suffer. Yet, you are doing all you can to add to the suffering. I think you are a very selfish and cold-hearted man, who does not care what is best for the people he was elected by (not by me) to represent, but more so out for the glory of your name attached to history. 
So thank you Mr. President, thank you for pushing those of us that are barely staying afloat completely under water and driving America into the ground. You have made your mark in history, as the absolute worst and most hated president of the United States. 
God have mercy on your soul! 
Sincerely, Yolanda Vestal 
Average American
Your Curmudgeon learned about the letter thanks to another blogger -- apparently it has gone viral, with literally millions of links and likes and translations into foreign languages.

Being curious to verify the existence of the author "Yolanda Vestal", your Curmudgeon went hunting on the Internet. And tracked down a story that is even more amazing than the fact that this letter -- which expresses the simple resentment that millions of Americans feel -- went viral.

For the truth is that the author, Yolanda Vestal, is a single mom in Palmer, Texas. And until a month ago -- October 18, 2013 -- her Facebook page (under the name "Yolanda Burroughs-Vestal") was no different from any of millions of similar pages.

But then -- on October 17, 2013 -- and being the dedicated Christian that she is, she saw fit to share this most elemental of accounts on her timeline (note that she uses "mum" both for a corsage, and for the lucky recipient of it):
So yesterday, I was at the homecoming [chrysanthe]mum supplies store and this little boy (around 6th or 7th grade) was shopping and carefully picking out things to make a homecoming mum. Then he ended up standing right in front of me in line as we waited to check out. As they rang up the items I watched him as he smiled in excitement as he told the lady he had saved to buy the stuff to make this girl at school a mum. Then in an instant that baby's smile went to a sad face looking at the ground when the total came up....he was short about $11. I stood there watching him scramble through his pockets for more money, but he had none. He started to walk away and I said, "Hey young man, I got the rest, just give her what you have." His look was at first shock, then that sweet smile returned. He thanked me over and over. He was grateful and his expression showed it. 
I'm not sharing this for any glory, but just as a reminder to pay it forward. God takes care of us, so often using others to do so. I know there is/was a sweet boy proudly giving a girl a homecoming mum today....and that makes my heart so happy!!!
"I'm not sharing this for any glory" -- well, true: her Facebook post about her Christian act of random kindness received just 21 comments from her friends, remarking on her generosity and how she made that boy's day.

The next day -- October 18 -- she posted (from her mobile phone!) the text of her "open letter" to President Obama, quoted above. It went up on her page just before 10:00 am, and by 10:30, it had received a number of standard "Likes" and "Shares" from her friends.

Until about 1:30 pm, everything looked like a normal Facebook post, but then something amazing kicked in. Every comment added to her post started receiving dozens and dozens of "Likes", and the "Shares" for her post began to rocket into the tens of thousands.

As of today, that original October 18 Facebook post has 3,482 "Likes" and 87,942 "Shares." The text of her letter has been re-quoted on thousands of additional blogs, including a number in foreign languages.

A review of her subsequent Facebook posts shows Yolanda Vestal's simple surprise and humility about all the publicity she has garnered, and documents her unsought rise to Internet celebrityhood.

Does Yolanda, however, need to marvel at the workings of God's grace?

Given her natural and spontaneous response just the day before to the little boy who needed to make his girlfriend a "mum" for the prom -- I don't think so.

For me, the objective evidence here of the Internet (which in this instance does not lie) demonstrates for all who choose to see how simple acts of instinctive charity -- responding at a basic human level to that which is "written on our hearts" -- can be the vehicles of His bringing grace to the many.

Soli Deo gloria.


  1. And my question to you, Curmudgeon, is simply, "Where the hell are all the good church going Christians in Palmer, Texas and every other place where average Americans are having a hard time of it?"

  2. Just a question that has been haunting me for some time:
    Does the Curmudgeon or Yolanda think that people would have fared any better under Romney?

  3. I can't speak for Yolanda, Auriel Ragmon, but I certainly believe that the situation under Romney would have been much better, yes -- if only because he would have managed matters instead of detaching himself from them. It would have been interesting to see how he would have implemented Obamacare, given his experience in Massachusetts, but I suspect that he and the Congress would have been able to work better on redesigning it so it could function without destroying the health care system. All water under the bridge, alas.