If you’re watching the waters rise, anticipating the loss of everything material, no other thoughts occur. To the millions observing your tragedy, the inability to provide hands-on help produces a thousand questions.
How can we join in the rescue efforts?
What do you need most?
How will our contributions be distributed?
Can we come to the area and participate in taking survivors to safety?
The sense of helplessness was not exclusive to the hurricane path. The nation and the world added its tears to the already swollen rivers, streets and buildings.
As the waters receded, we were partially reassured by the heroic efforts of so many from infinite sources. We watched the boats, helicopters and everyday people who combined forces to make many differences in large and small ways.
While your recovery will require years, patience and more dollars than most of us can imagine, we have not disappeared. As we provide homes to your lonely pets, dollars to Red Cross and provisions to your shelters, you remain in our wishes and prayers.
Never hesitate to call on us for any needs you may have, material or otherwise. The only support that you won’t receive is that which you fail to request.
Yesterday morning I sat in front of a class of kindergartners, discussing a grade-suitable book that they had read the day before. It wasn’t fascinating subject matter but it had a moral that students could identify. One young man, for the second or third time that day, finessed a seat immediately in front of me. Had I attempted to leave my chair, it would have required him to move or a nearly gymnastic effort on my part.
As we worked through the book, my escort found it necessary and appropriate to examine each of my accessories that he could reach without being conspicuous. He did it quietly and attracted attention from only one neighbor.
First it was my badge. He admired the bat that a previous student had stuck to it. Then it was my bracelet, then my scarf. His touches were gentle and unobtrusive so I allowed him to continue his exploration of my rings and watch.
It never occurred to me to interrupt his discovery process. At one point, I realized that at age 5 or 6, he had limited means with which to connect to me but urgently wanted to do so. And because my interaction with students is always individualized and often unusual, I realized that this was his method for delivering affection.
Sometimes I get love letters and sometimes it’s drawings. On other occasions it’s hugs or declarations of love. Last week I received a treasured plastic football ring. This display was no different – checking his eyes, he confirmed that we had a special bond. As we were leaving, I asked the class if I should make a return appearance. His “Yes!” was the loudest.
If I convinced one student that he was extraordinary and accepted, I had a joyous day. In the event that his day was equally memorable, my joy is boundless. Shalom.
By this time, we have seen the television coverage of the tragic devastation occurring in central Texas and Louisiana. While many have the ability to make contributions to (legitimate) charities large and small, my sincere belief is that many thousands of us wish that we could do much, much more to assist.
Although the majority of us can’t reach or touch those who need us the most, the country and the world are watching. We are cheering for the seniors who were successfully rescued from the waist-high water that confused and frightened them. We are grateful for those who have exposed themselves in danger to save others.
Your country salutes the thousands of Texas who have stepped forward to volunteer their time and resources to help those who need shelter, food and water. Thank you to the 12,000 National Guard members who tirelessly rescue Texans from homes, businesses, apartments and vehicles.
If caring, hoping, cheering and sending our fervent wishes for relief and security reach you, we know that you will appreciate being in our thoughts. If we don’t have the opportunity to lend a hand, understand that it’s not by choice but by circumstances.
Don’t give up or lose hope. Know that relief is on the way and we’re doing everything possible to get blankets for your children, food on your plates and the return of security to your hearts. Shalom.