These past few weeks feel like I have survived an emotional roller coaster ride. The first big hill was the events that took place in Charlottesville. We saw some of the worst in us as our words and actions exploded in violence, anger, bitterness and even death. I think that most of us mourned not only the lost lives but also the reminder at how divided we are. My anxiousness has remained long after the crowds dispersed and I am still wondering how long it will be until the next riot or conflict of hate.
I wonder about the racism shown in Charlottesville. Do they hate because they fear what they don’t know? Have they been nurtured by fear of other beliefs and cultures even if their skin color is the same? Can that hill be climbed and conquered?
The second large hill to be climbed was named Harvey. This hurricane felt like a guest who just wouldn’t move on. Lives have been devastated by the destruction of property as well as an emotional toll of how to start again with nothing. My daughter Kelly lives in the Houston area and I am so grateful that even though she was packed and ready to evacuate, she did not have to flee her home and remained safe and secure. Many people at her work were impacted and were deemed homeless within minutes and had to leave with only the shirt on their backs. The recovery efforts are well under way, however it will take years for this area of our country to be restored completely.
While this coaster ride has been at times terrifying, it also has given us time to see the best part of us. We are a people with a soul who long to share in the pain of others and give of ourselves, our time and even our money. Everywhere shelters were set up in churches, mosques, schools, furniture stores, and any public space that was available and not under water. People came with their boats and even some out-state good Samaritans bought boats to help rescue people and pets that were waiting, hoping and praying they would be found in time. Food, supplies, clothing, medicine, furniture are being collected for the thousands of people in need. As more and more stories are told and retold in the media, it is so good to hear that we stepped in, helped and continue to assist people in need.
As devastating as Harvey was, this storm almost felt like a salve that healed some of the wounds of prejudice, hate and conflict from the previous weeks. People from all over the U.S. and the world have rescued and assisted people who have lost everything and faced an uncertain future of “What’s next?” My Kelly has been genuinely affected by the stories that her staff shares regarding the devastation join in the tears when people are so grateful of any and all of the help they receive. One of the best things to come from this flood is the care we have shown for anyone and everyone in need. No one was rescued or refused because their color, race, religion, wealth, status, gender or age.
I can’t help but think that God is smiling at us as we care for people with love and respect regardless of who they are or what they believe. His Son Jesus always emphasized that we are to take care of the poor, the widows and orphans. He was always showing us that who or what we are don’t ever matter. He healed the Roman soldier’s son, he healed the Canaanite woman’s daughter and even respected and loved the woman from Samaria. These people were hated by most of the people of Israel, but he didn’t care whose life he touched. He showed mercy and love to everyone. May we follow in Christ’s footsteps, let go of our fears and show mercy and love to all as we continue the ride as we bless others as the hands and feet of Christ.