Hurricane Harvey – A Story of Hope In The Aftermath of Tragedy

Not too long ago I published a post, Raising Helpers, encouraging families to find and remember the value in helping others. Truly helping, without expecting anything in return. For a small blog such as mine, it was received well.

Part of that I think is because of the truth behind it. What I wrote was nothing novel, nothing new. The ideas were simply those from years past. Ideas that are too often forgotten in our modern society that is more interested in what it can get from someone, rather than what it can do for someone.

Look For The Helpers

This past Friday eastern Texas braced for the impact of Hurricane Harvey. The storm, while widely predicted, came as a shock to many with the intensity and damage. As the first major hurricane to make landfall in many years, I wonder how many simply thought they would be OK. How many went to the store with lists and stocked up on water, flashlights, batteries, and other emergency items. I wonder if the warnings were strong enough from meteorologists and emergency services to leave the area.

Regardless, hindsight is always 20/20. All of my questions come too late.

Today we are left with the aftermath. The mess that Harvey left in its tracks. And rather than point fingers, as our society so often does, I am seeing helpers. Seeing those out there in Texas and heading to Texas to help. People are donating time and money to help with the devastation and the clean-up.

People are helping people for no reason other than kindness and knowing that it’s the right thing to do. Strangers coming to the aid of strangers out of nothing more than compassion.

The Power of Kindness

All along the internet, and up and down my social media accounts, are countless examples of people helping. Normal, average, everyday people offering up their time, their money, and their resources.

And it’s a good thing too because the havoc caused by this storm has been devastating. And it’s not over. Floodwaters still litter the streets. Ecosystems changed. Modern conveniences broken, destroyed, or at the minimum disrupted for an unknown period of time.

I watch the videos and listen to the stories and I am amazed though. Amazed at seeing people brought together by this tragedy, and rather than letting it beat them, they are fighting back. For this brief moment in time, we are not allowing our differences to divide us. We are not allowing arbitrary rules dictate who it is we are going to help. We have stopped looking at people by race, color, creed, or religious stance and we are simply seeing a neighbor in need. A person rather than a label.

We are not waiting helplessly for the government to come in and help. Not waiting for organizations like the Red Cross to send aid. Not even sitting back and letting rescue personnel do all the work.

No, what I am seeing is neighbor helping neighbor. A community united by a common goal. Even for just this brief moment in time, all of the nonsense that we typically allow to keep us apart has been put aside for the greater good.

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…

Now I know that the local, state, and federal government will come in and do their thing. Damages will be assessed (probably in the hundreds of billions when all is said and done), and rebuilding will commence once the flood waters receded.

But for now, rather than waiting and asking what this country is going to do for Texas, Texans, alongside the rest of this country, are asking what they can do for their communities. What they can do for their neighbors.

Sure, there will be questions asked. Emergency plans will be reevaluated and evacuation protocol updates. But rather than waiting for all of that people are helping other people. People are helping the elderly trapped in hospitals and nursing homes. Using their boats to check on neighbors. And just jumping in where and when they can.

To Write or Not To Write?

This post has been mulling around in my head for days now as I watch, thousands of miles away and safely from my home. And I wondered, do I have the right to write about a tragedy that has taken countless lives and devastated a whole community? What does a girl from Maine have to add to the narrative that even matters?

And then I realized, the helpers I wrote about a few months ago were there. They are being showcased on every major television network. The nightly news sharing a little hope and compassion among the fear and heartache. They are all over the internet on sites such as Huffington Post and USA Today. And all over social media on pages such as For Good’s Sake and Jumble Joy.

Yes, I still believe the world needs more helpers as I wrote in the first piece. But today… today I am so proud of my country and the people in it who are rising to the occasion, helping their neighbors and strangers alike. Those everyday citizens who are forgoing their own safety and comfort to help bring safety to others. The ones who are trying to be part of the solution to the problems caused by nature.

So I chose to write. To thank those who are helping, who are sacrificing, who are making a difference. To thank those who are being helpers at a time when there is so much help needed. Those who are bringing just a little hope to the chaos that is Hurricane Harvey.

Know a way someone can help out? Feel free to share a link or an idea below!

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2 thoughts on “Hurricane Harvey – A Story of Hope In The Aftermath of Tragedy

  1. Kelly, it’s so tempting to think that our words don’t make a difference but I can tell you that they’ve touched me today. Living in the Caribbean I’ve been impacted directly by two major hurricanes following Harvey and I have a new appreciation for the value of helpers. We can all find ways to help, even if it’s not in the way we expect. Prayer is one of the most powerful ways and beyond that there are practical things we can do, like keeping the plight of those affected in front of those who will listen. It’s easy to feel forgotten. Having you writing and sharing about helpers, is another way of saying, I remember you. Thank you!
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

    1. Marva,
      Thank you for your kind words! Living in the north-east of the US we don’t typically experience the massive devastation of hurricanes. Sure, we get a blizzard to two most years, but nothing like the catastrophic events you folks experience. With so much hurt, anger, and selfishness in the world, it was so encouraging to see the stories of hope, help, and selflessness that occurred immediately following Harvey.

      I hope and pray that the restoration efforts continue and go smoothly for all those impacted by Harvey and Irma. We watched Irma quite closely up here as my 7 year old became fascinated with all things hurricanes this summer due to the sheer number of strong storms. We used it as a homeschool opportunity not to just study the storms from a weather standpoint, but also studying the destruction and aftermath, as well as the countless helpers who rose to the occasion.

      Best of luck as you continue cleaning up from the mess. Here’s hoping many more helpers come around and stay around to see the projects completed.

Now it's your turn! Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!