I remember dropping my chopsticks into my takeout container of garlicky vegetables and starting to sob.
We were watching CNN a couple days after Hurricane Katrina, when the stories of devastation had started to emerge. The destruction was so massive and so unbelievable to my innocent eyes.
I saw mothers pleading into the camera, asking for diapers and formula, as they held cranky, wiggly babies. I watched my own baby, 10 months old, as she scooted around on our warm, dry living room floor, chattering to herself.
How could I eat Chinese food at a time like this?
I was heartbroken and overwhelmed just looking at the pictures on my TV screen. I could hardly bear the thought of how many people were actually living it.
I felt the same way last night, watching Anderson Cooper report from Manhattan and other CNN correspondents bring sad stories into my living room. This time I cuddled with the same daughter, now almost eight. I wondered aloud what kinds of things she will witness in her lifetime, what other devastating storms she will see as climate change continues to unfold in the coming years. I prayed a prayer for mercy for my children’s generation.
I feel the same way today as I listen to stories on NPR, the words “New York” and “New Jersey” repeated over and over. My heart aches with grief and disbelief.
I want to scoop up everyone affected by this storm, gather them into a big circle, give every one of them a hug and a bottle of water to drink, and look each of them in the eye, and promise that everything is going to be all right.
But, I know, for some people—a lot of people—it’s not going to be all right. Somebody lost a father, somebody lost their children, somebody’s dream home—the one they worked hard for all their life—was torn in two, someone lost all they had, including their dignity. Some businesses will never recover. Some people will lose their jobs. Marriages will suffer. Relationships will be strained. For so many people, things may never be “all right” ever again.
I know how one bad day can change your life forever.
I also know about the tenacity of LOVE and the resiliency of human hearts. I know that the God who embodied LOVE displays Himself through the hands of His people. I know in the days (and months and years) to come, I will also hear stories of how human beings put LOVE into action and gave of their time, talents, and resources to go about bringing stability and redemption to this tragic situation.
My question for you is: how will you contribute to bringing hope to this dark experience?
- Do you have $5? Or more? Donate it to relief efforts with WorldVision or the Red Cross.
- Do you have some blood that you don’t mind parting with? Head over to your local Red Cross to donate a pint.
- Maybe you can take a few days off and show up in person. Samaritan’s Purse is recruiting hands-on volunteers.
- Do you pray? Take some time to specifically pray for those affected by the storm and anything else related that God brings to your heart.
Do what you can…for the apostle John instructed us: “Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (1 John 3:18). We all have some way of making LOVE a reality in this tragic situation.
To the people of New York and New Jersey—you are deeply LOVED.