And Suddenly…There Was Nothing

Like many of you we have been closely following the effects of the recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, Florida, and Texas. Yes, it’s awful.

Devastating.

Catastrophic.

We’re almost glued to our tv’s watching the scenes of hopeless devastation. Destroyed buildings and houses. Cars smashed and overturned. Uprooted trees everywhere. Water streaming down streets and into the bartered remnants of homes. A few people walking amidst the rubble, looking for remnants of anything to salvage, a look of helpless bewilderment on their faces.

The entire island of Puerto Rico has no power. None. We’re told it will likely be up to six months before it’s completely restored. Not days. Not weeks. Months. That would be sometime in March of 2018.

There is no fresh water for drinking, let alone bathing. Water is now a precious commodity that is likely to be hoarded by those lucky enough to have any. We’re told it will be some three weeks before the water supply can be restored.

Communication towers are down. There’s currently almost no way to reach loved ones there to see if they’re ok. A friend of our daughter has most of her family there; she’s seen pictures of the area where they lived and it’s destroyed. She finally heard from them in a two minute call from a military phone two days later, and is so relieved to know they’re ok!

My husband talked to a man the other day whose wife and their 6 children are there, as well as his in-laws. He hasn’t been able to reach them, and is praying they’re all right as well.

How would you feel if it were your family? I’m sure many of you reading this have family and friends there. And you know exactly how they feel.

The airports are closed. They’re trying to get them restored enough so food and other supplies and emergency crews can be brought in, and people can be evacuated. But with only generators for power, many parts of the airports flooded out, and runways littered with debris, this certainly will be difficult, to say the least. Not to mention the lack of fuel or insufficient ways to communicate safely with the pilots from the tower.

It’s a horrific situation to watch…and most likely we haven’t begun to see and hear about all of the devastation, because we’re not there, and there are really no good ways to fully communicate what is actually going on to the outside world.

And over these next few days, sadly, tragically, many may die from lack of medicine, water, food, and exposure. They may die from injuries sustained from the storm, or from trying to help others. These are real people, who had normal lives just a week or so ago.

Now it’s all gone.

We just can’t watch any more.

So we turn off our tv, and go upstairs to get ready for bed, the pictures of this latest disaster still in our minds.

Think about that for a moment.

We have a tv that works because we have electricity. Those hit by the storm don’t. Their tv’s are most likely gone, as well as the local tv stations. And broadcast towers and transmitters.

We go into our bathrooms and brush our teeth and wash our faces. We change into our pajamas. The storm

Victims now have no running water. No way to brush their teeth or wash their faces or flush a toilet. Most likely their only clothes left are the ones they’re wearing.

We get into our comfortable beds between crisp sheets and blankets. The storm survivors are most likely sleeping either on floors, of if they’re lucky, on cots in a makeshift shelter, and certainly without sheets or blankets.

We wake up the next morning safe and secure in our homes, and begin grumbling about the chores ahead of us that day, like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the house…. While the storm victims have no homes left. No grocery stores to go to. No laundry to do because everything is gone. Everything. Their homes and all of their possessions. They have to totally start their lives over with only the clothes on their back.

Shall I continue?

Have we become that complacent and forgetful?

The answer is yes, and I’m just as guilty. Because it’s unfortunately human nature for most of us. We take for granted what we have, even after viewing such mass destruction. We’re thankful it’s not us. We donate money for relief efforts, but we really can’t understand what the storm victims are going through. Even imagining in our minds, it’s just not possible.

What would you do if that happened to you? Personally I cannot answer that question, because my mind just cannot comprehend it.

But it does make me stop and think about how very, very fortunate I am. How fortunate my family and friends are.

It also makes me realize that in a split second, or a few hours, it could all change due to circumstances we cannot even begin to control.

Don’t be complacent about your life; your family and friends; your possessions. We are not promised tomorrow, and during such times as we are seeing in the aftermath of these storms, we can clearly begin to see what’s important and what’s not. Petty arguments, perceived offenses over names and statues, not getting a promotion at work, people’s lifestyles you don’t agree with, not having the latest model car or the biggest home on your block…such things in the scheme of life suddenly don’t matter any more. Survival does.

If suddenly almost all you had was taken from you, if you were left with only the clothes on your back, with no food, no place to live, no money and no job to go back to, what would you do?

Think about it, and appreciate what you still have. Because if could still happen to us as well.

If you wish to help with hurricane relief efforts, there are a number of websites that are taking donations. Be sure the one you select is legitimate, as there are unfortunately some out there trying to take advantage of these disasters for their own self interests. Brave members of disaster teams are already there or on their way to help, and we thank each and every one of them, because what they are doing is not easy.

Thank you all for any help you can offer in this relief effort.

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