My heart is hurting, and I’m not alone. Where do we start? It’s one thing when the devastation is confined to defined states or geographical areas, but unimaginable pain, suffering, and loss in multiple countries? Where do we start? Are the first to be helped chosen by lottery draw? By the percentage of the area that’s been decimated? By the estimated financial losses? Or is it like a triage system? Field triage isn’t about taking the most seriously ill or injured first, as in a hospital. It’s about taking the ones most likely to live first, at the unspeakable expense of losing others, because they can’t save them all. Viability drives the agonizing choice of who to save in the field.
Most of us shake our heads, some of us cry, some pray, many will seek out ways to be of assistance, but how many of us have actually felt the pain of losing everything we had, and not only our health, possessions and loved ones, but our entire country, to the wrath of Mother Nature? I am humbled.
Who of us all will give until it hurts? To whom do we go to offer help? Opportunity abounds at every step; in churches, in schools, in stores, in emails, on web pages. There are endless chances to offer support, but which one is best? My 10 year old grandson, in the innocence to which only the tender young are privy, mused that if every single person gave 2 flood buckets apiece we could help so many people. How simple, how sweet, and how true. I think this weekend we’ll make 4 flood buckets, two for each of us, and take them somewhere where they are being collected. Or maybe one flood bucket and a basket of toiletries, or a basket of toiletries and a bag of clothing, or a bag of people food and a bag of pet food, or a check, or………follow your own heart.
So many people. I am reminded of a story, author unknown, of which one variation goes something like this: “An old man was walking down a beach one morning after a strong storm the night before. The storm had washed hundreds of thousands of helpless starfish ashore. The starfish were stranded and faced certain doom once the sun was high in the sky. Across the beach the man saw a young child walking in his direction. As the boy walked, he would pause to bend down, pick a starfish up, and toss it back into the ocean. The old man was puzzled by the boy’s behavior and once they were close enough the man yelled to the boy, ‘Why are you wasting your time? You can’t possibly save them all’, to which the boy replied, ‘Maybe not, but it mattered to that one,’ as he tossed another far into the waves.” People matter.