Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Thoughts on Harvey

            Anchorage has seen several weeks of rain interspersed with a few short periods of clouds with no rain and even shorter periods of sunshine. I, along with many other Alaskans, have complained about the steady rain. After all, we have only a few short months of good weather, and we want to enjoy as much of it as possible.

            My main complaints have centered on a few facts: (1) I am now in the midst of raspberry season, and I do not like to pick berries in the rain. (2) The grass has to be somewhat dry in order to be mowed, and it needs to be mowed regularly in order to be healthy. (3) I have only a few more weeks to accomplish projects in the yard, tasks that are difficult to do in the rain. (4) No matter how bad things are for me, other people have it worse.

            I stopped complaining about the rain in Anchorage when I saw the devastation in Houston, Texas, and surrounding areas caused by Hurricane Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm. I saw streets and highways turned into rivers. I saw homes half submerged in the water. I saw backyards and parks that look like lakes. Wow! I have no room to hold a pity party!

            My problems seem so small compared to the life and death situation in Houston. Does it matter if I get my raspberries picked when other people are losing their homes, vehicles, and precious items? Does it matter if my grass gets cut every week when other people will be digging several feet of mud out of their homes? Does it really matter if I get all my projects completed before winter when others are fighting for their lives and/or the lives of others?

            I did not worry much about the hurricane at first because my daughter and her family are safe in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Then I realized that she has in-laws in the Houston area and would be devastated if something were to happen to any of them. I also remembered that I have several nieces and nephews and their families in the area, and my family would be devastated at the loss of any of them. So far, all these people are okay. Now I am adding up the many friends and acquaintances living in the area and being affected and displaced by the flood.

            I think of all the miracles taking place in spite of the ravishing storm. A new baby with known heart problems was born just prior to the arrival of Harvey and was able to receive the necessary medical help. A young boy rescued from the middle of a stream. An elderly woman floating face down in the water was found just in time to receive the critical first aid care.

            The biggest miracle of all is people from many walks of life coming together to benefit others. This site offers a beautifully written article with pictures to express the message. After discussing some of the horrors caused by Harvey, the author shares these thoughts.

Yet, in the deluge, there is also something incredibly beautiful emerging. You see, Harvey has washed away something else – hatred.

Look at these pictures! The only color in greater Houston today is red, white, and blue. The only religion on our streets is love. There is no race, no creed, no gender, no socioeconomic classes, no nationality, no sexual orientation, no religion –

There are only people helping people. There are only strangers opening their homes for strangers. There are only men and women risking their precious lives for other precious lives.

For a stunning moment the world has stopped fighting against each other and started fighting for each other. It’s breathtaking.

Take note world. You don’t need to wait for a devastating disaster to love. You don’t need to wait until your neighbors are drowning to reach across the color, religious, nationality, political boundaries. This world is suffering a different kind of storm, one far more dangerous than Harvey – a storm of hatred. Let’s refuse to let it break us.

            Once again we have been taught the importance of loving each other and working together to help individuals and families. Once again we have been taught that lives are more important than buildings or vehicles. Once again we have been taught what is really important in life. Will we remember this time?

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