If anyone tried to make en epic movie about disasters and the human condition, all they’d have to do is film what’s going on across the U.S. today.
From raging hurricanes and flooding in the south and east to devastating fires in the west, our country has experienced a plethora of natural catastrophes in the past months. Loss of life, lifestyle, property and peace have been our new norm. We live with a “grass is greener” mentality. If the east and south had more of the dryness of the west, there wouldn’t have been so much flooding. If the west had had a portion of the south’s moisture, there wouldn’t have been such a huge loss to the flames.
My sister owns a condo in Santa Rosa. The area is still burning; she’s no clue if she’s lost her home. You can’t wait out a fire–the quixotic wind drops burning debris where it will, with no protection possible. The brave souls who held on during the hurricanes weren’t faced with smoke inhalation or being trapped by flames.
She’s upset by the potential loss. Not just of her home, but of neighbors and a way of life she’s come to enjoy. The rolling hills of Sonoma and Napa Valleys are looking more like fields of tinder than row upon row of growing grapes. Family has visited her out there, and places we’d been to and enjoyed together are no more and will only live in memories.
Natural disasters are reminders of how little control we have over many things in life. We can pass blame like a platter of vegetables, letting it move from hand to hand, watching folks just pass it on. It’s not global warming or a matter that can be determined and fixed by laws and regulations.
Catastrophes undo life as we know it. In California, at least 21 are dead, with several hundred missing. Seven counties have been affected, and thousands have had to flee from their homes. The loss of property is massive.
Fighting this feels impossible. Firefighters are valiantly working to contain these wildfires, but the crazy winds are battling back with force and fury.
No matter how tightly we hold on to “things”, possessions we prize or property we value, those can be taken away in a moment with a turn of the wind.
These folks who’ve lost everything because of fire are going to need our help and support as much as those who lost it all in the hurricanes.
We don’t have to look far to help others. We can step outside our comfort zones to really see people and engage with those we’ve chosen to overlook in the past. That’s the focus that matters–people.
Since all are made in the image of God, we’ve a connection to one another that is deep. No matter what we look like, what we do or how we view life.
All people matter. Disasters remind us of that.
Allow God to give you the courage and kindness to reach out to others who need you. It doesn’t have to take catastrophic events to move us to engage. Today we can give of ourselves to someone who hurts more than we do.
Besides, seeking to help others is a welcome break from our very human obsessive self-centeredness.