Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Loving Ourselves, Loving Our Neighbor

The stories surfacing from those who were slammed with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are pouring in as fast as the floodwaters. They are heartbreaking and heartwarming in the same breath. These stories give insight to the true nature of people. It's been said that true character is revealed when no one is looking, and it appears that we've got some moxie and heart, not hate and division. Praise the Lord for that! Can the animosity and stupidity be washed away with the floodwaters please?

As I've been watching all this unfold from the comfort of our couch (and let's be honest - bed - because I rarely get right to sleep), my heart has felt drawn to those tiny island nations that were decimated by Irma. Please don't misunderstand. I'm heartbroken for those who lost everything, those who are now struggling to rebuild, those who lost their loved ones, their livelihood, and their lives here stateside. It's just that those images from a completely flattened nation-state are haunting me. Who will rebuild them? Where can they go? 

While I was pondering all of this last night, I reached out to a good friend whose lifeblood is rooted in the work of mercy. I asked in that safe space this very question. Who will help them, and why aren't we saying and doing more. God is so good to surround me with people who are wiser and can hear His voice more clearly. 

She reminded me of the tremendous financial impact the two hurricanes and fires have had in our own backyard. She reminded me that though I've seen images of a whole nation that is now uninhabitable, that in areas of Texas and Florida are places equally uninhabitable. She reminded me that in those areas likely live people, who because of their status and misfortune to be stuck in the middle of a political debate, have no access to resources to rebuild either. These people will also need private help because they have no other place to go. Then she left me with this gem which I am paraphrasing. We use our resources to clean up our backyard so the people down the street can help out our neighbors. The door to give remains open for all the world. When we are suffering, we mend ourselves first. Basic emergency training. Duh, Rakhi. Duh.

Thank you, friend, for helping me remember what I already know so well. We cannot rank and compare pain and misery. It is all awful and contrary to God's ultimate desire for us. While we have more resources as a nation that the islands that are on my heart, we also have a whole population that does not have access to them. So, those of us who can, give.

Please consider making a donation if you haven't already. Please choose something local so the money goes directly to those suffering. If you have the islands on your heart as I do, today is a good day to give through Google also - they have a button when you go to their website to give through Catholic Relief Services and they're matching donations. Please pray. Please give. There is so much destruction from which to recover. 


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