Hurricane Matthew and Thanksgiving
Recently I experienced one of those unannounced life changing sentinel events that rattle one’s psyche. The kind that gives us a strong wake up call. Life as you know it, changing before your eyes. A sudden new perspective that quickly reshuffles present or future priorities.
The month of October was one of those times for myself and many North Carolinians. As a lifetime resident of North Carolina, I have never witnessed a flooding phenomenon so devastating to so many people. Torrential rain falling within a short span of time, produced by Hurricane Matthew.
Hurricane Matthew made its path crossing North Carolina and as a result, there were many trees down, the expected electrical outages and rain, rain, rain. Then a bright beautiful sun came out and with that a false sense of security. It seemed difficult at this point to understand why our Governor McCroy stated, that the worst was now yet to come. But in fact he was absolutely correct.
Almost like out of a drama set, the water along ditches, stream, rivers, ponds, lakes begin to rise and rise and rise, It was like a huge wave of water was released from the ocean and was making its way into our towns, cities and communities that were hours away. But instead of the ocean, it was from the overflowing rivers that could not hold the large volume of water rushing trough them.
The Water Had a Life of its Own
A person could see the water overcome embankments and continue to creep toward homes and businesses without any regard to anything or anyone in its path. The water seem to have a life of its own.
Peoples lives were totally disrupted and many loss everything they owned. It will take months and years to overcome the damage experienced to roads and peoples homes and businesses.
I volunteered with colleagues to offer support to a shelter of almost 200 people and witnessed just how depressing a disaster of this nature can be. I felt so much empathy for the children that had to be uprooted from their homes.
The Beauty of People
There is a saying, “It is not what happens to us in life, but how we respond.” During the flooding I witnessed a major disaster for thousands of people, and at the same time, the best possible characteristics of mankind. People from all types of non-profits and businesses and individuals reaching out with supplies, food, toys, clothes, and almost anything you could think of to people living in shelters.
People were compassionate and caring for those hurting and people on the receiving end were so grateful. If there was any differences that may of separated people prior to the Hurricane, they left along with Matthew. People were hurting for other people and bearing one another burdens. There was much compassion and many strangers becoming friends.
The True Essence of Thanksgiving
This experience was the essence of what our Thanksgiving Holiday is all about. People accepting and appreciating each other as human beings, just like the Pilgrims and the Indians did as they shared their meal together on Thanksgiving Day.
May we take time to celebrate Thanksgiving with love and gratitude in our hearts and be most grateful for our family, friends, and even the strangers that are there for us when we need them.
Blessings for a wonderful Thanksgiving!