When I was a kid, I enjoyed rain. Lots of rain. I was a Class A puddle splasher. Having my shoes and every stitch of clothing I wore become drenched was fun. It made making mud pies in the flower beds easier.
Now I appreciate what rain does for all things green. The necessity of having our aquifers filled. The safety of wet ground as opposed to tinder dry.
I have friends who have family and close relationships in Houston. My son and his family live in Austin, which is wet but not super saturated. No one could have adequately prepared for what actually happened.
This was no go with the flow kind of a situation.
What’s happened in Houston and now in Louisiana is catastrophic. It’s not an just an inconvenience or uncomfortable. It’s not just messing up plans; it’s impacted lives dramatically for a long time to come.
People have lost everything in this deluge. Local authorities have confirmed at least 30 deaths that are storm-related. Almost 52 inches of rain have fallen in some parts of Texas. Buildings all over the southeast part of the state are flooded and dangerous, leaving people stranded in homes, hotels and places that had been used as shelters.
This is when we begin to understand the truth of community. People may not live in Houston, but folks all over the country are trying to help those who are hurting. They’re leaving the comfort of their own homes to help those who no longer have one. They’re showing up with military, firefighter and emergency medical technician expertise to offer their skills to the desperate and despairing.
Mexico has offered a helping hand. In spite of politics.
“The Mexican government…has offered to provide help and cooperation to the US government in order to deal with the impact of this natural disaster–as good neighbors should always do in trying times,” said Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez. “As we have done in the past, Mexico stands with Texas in this difficult moment.”
Why does it take a disaster for us to realize we need each other? Why does it take pain and loss for us to hold out a hand of friendship with a willingness to serve those who don’t agree with us? Who are different from us?
Pain and loss speak a universal language that crosses cultural and ethnic barriers. They trump politics and philosophical differences. They cast aside pettiness and superficial problems.
Because we are all made in the image of God, we have capacity to care for others that goes beyond personal selfishness, greed and arrogance. Because He chooses to love us, even though our hearts wander far from Him and His truth, we can, in Him and with Him, love others.
Caring causes us to look away from our own problems and shortcomings, our disappointments and failures to the needs of others. It gives us courage and capacity to put others above ourselves.
In our self-centered, me-first world, that will take an act of God.
In each one of us.