We all have something to offer

This last week that I’ve been in the Dominican Republic has been quite an experience! I arrived one week ago, today (as I write this), believing that Hurricane Irma was going to exact similar damage to a place I had called home for twelve years as it did to St. Maarten and the island of Barbuda. What I found, instead, was that a slight shift in trajectory allowed for the entire island of Hispaniola to be saved from anything more than a small amount of flooding and some minor wind damage. Incredible.

I was thankful for so many lives and livelihoods saved and yet acutely aware that many of my friends and colleagues in the Dominican Republic had family members living on the islands most affected by Irma. They were still waiting to hear from them to know that they were even alive. And as the winds of chance (or fervent prayers!) had spared this island, the faithful here began investigating how they could get to St. Maarten to help those in need. The very folks I had come to help were now looking to go and help others!

I don’t have television here or speedy Internet access but the little bit of news that I am able to get hold of is also showing me that many communities in the United States are also coming together to help each other, even when they themselves are doing without or have been affected. One neighbor of mine posted that she had lost electricity so was offering everything in her freezer to anyone who wanted the food..she would even drop it off! All she wanted to know was that the food wouldn’t go to waste. Instead of people fighting over the right to get the food, one after the other offered freezer space to this neighbor…people she didn’t even know…trying to make sure she was taken care of. This is just a simple, little thing.

Then I hear about towns meeting together in parking lots with tools and trailers to help clear debris where needed. And others, who can’t physically help, showing up with water or sandwiches to feed those who can work. Organizations are working together. People are lending a hand, a shoulder to cry on, a prayer.

It seems that in spite of all of the differences that have separated us in the news over the last year or so…in spite of the anger and the discord that so often causes us to choose sides and fear anyone who is different from us…these most recent tragedies have somehow pulled out the humanity in all of us. Now, maybe it’s because I don’t have access to news 24/7 right now and can’t see everything but I think there really is something good happening. I think people are forgetting to hate each other and remembering that we all have something to give. At least for the moment. I hope it lasts. In fact, it is my prayer. It might be a naïve prayer or one that you say is bound to fail but I believe in love. I believe in hope. I believe that kindness is not dead and it simply needs to be rediscovered in each of us.