REMEMBERING BLESSINGS Andy Hollifield 9-28-18
Sometimes it helps a person to be humbled. If you don’t think you need to be humbled, try visiting a disaster site and look into the eyes of the people there. When you see the desperation in their face and talk to them and hear it in their voice, it helps you to put things in perspective a little better. Things that, only moments before, were of utmost importance to us are now made seemingly insignificant in comparison.
I remember talking to a young Hispanic mother in Refugio, Texas last October following Hurricane Harvey. It is kind of awkward to actually ask someone if they made it through the storm ok. This young lady, looked me in the eye and said, “We were scared and just prayed a lot, especially when we could see the roof raising up and dropping back down on our home. Other than that we did alright.” Others weren’t so fortunate and lost everything. On my trip to Fayetteville, I wasn’t in the part of town that sustained all the flooding that we saw on the news. I saw a little and I didn’t go to Lumberton myself but the pregnancy center we are working through will be helping there three days a week as they usually do.
Over the years, I have seen a lot of things while working in disaster relief. There are a few things that, without a word being said, instantly break my heart for folks that are victims of disaster. By the way, most do not see themselves as victims but as survivors. Three things in life that just move me to tears are these: One is seeing the graphic pictures of babies being aborted. That one goes without saying and it leaves a sick feeling in your stomach along with a sudden rush of anger. All of that quickly gives way to unbridled compassion realizing that in that situation there are really two victims; one that survives only to die gradually from the inside out and one that survives only before the face of their creator.
The second thing that invokes those same unbridled emotions is seeing someone’s life piled on the edge of the street to be picked up and hauled off like it was nothing. I have seen that many times over the years and the reaction is always the same just like the first thing I mentioned. The sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, the overflowing anger at the situation, and then the compassion that makes you want to do even more for the people than what your body is capable of. The kind that makes you want to come back Mississippi for another trailer when you have only slept four hours out of forty-eight. The kind that makes you wish that you had put more on the truck, even though the mud flaps were dragging all the way to Texas.
The third thing is to actually watch someone sifting through the remains of what once was their lives, knowing that no matter who they are or where they lived they are people just like you. Folks that loved their family and worked hard to provide for them and give them more than they had growing up. Then there they are; standing in a pile of broken dreams just wondering, “Where do I start?” Your impulse is to walk up and put an arm around them or just give them a big hug and tell them it will be all right. But, you don’t know that. That is a promise that you can’t make come to pass. All three situations I have listed are the same in the ways I have mentioned.
The beautiful thing about disasters, if you can say anything about them is beautiful, is the togetherness they seem to bring. It is amazing that in those times that someone who really has nothing, yet they are willing to share it with someone else that also has nothing. I have seen this following a flood in West Virginia where people refuse extra paper towels because someone else might need some when you knew they needed them themselves. In Florida following Hurricane Andrew when a deputy refused food and extra water because he wasn’t going to be home to use it right away and someone else might need it. In Texas following Harvey where folks told you how good they had it and how thankful they were rather than telling you how much they had lost and that they didn’t know where or how to start putting their lives back together again.
One thing that has never changed, at least in my life, is that each time I go and try to help someone else, I feel guilty because I feel like they help me far more than I help them. I only bring them “things” but they help give me humbleness of heart. It may surprise you to know that you don’t leave those places with an anxiousness about getting home, but rather you head home with an anxiousness about helping more. You pass the miles not always with the radio but often with total quietness except for the roar of the engine and the hum of the highway. You actually pass the miles, having been humbled and, just “Remembering Blessings.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!