GENDUSA COLUMN: Before we are swept away

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, September 1, 2021

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The waters rose to epic proportions and swept away not only homes, businesses, and schools but lives. As the sudden wrath of Mother Nature’s power rained havoc on a Tennessee community, families clung to each other, holding on for dear life, but sadly, for some, the water’s power claimed them. And then the angels swept those souls to Heaven’s safe shores.

A few short hours before the mighty water rushed through the town’s streets, neighbors stopped to chat with the mother strolling her babies as they waved to Mr. Jones on the corner. Children’s squeals filled the air as they chased a puppy in a nearby park. 

Little did they know, as they enjoyed their day, that it would be the last time they would see Mr. Jones. The young mother couldn’t fathom it would be her final stroll with her twin babies or that the cute little pup would never be found. 

An idyllic American summer scene turned into a portrait of doom as a stalled weather system in the skies above rained death, drowning dreams, and destroying lives. 

A hurricane brewed in the sea, heading toward the Crescent City of New Orleans and the gulf coast.  On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction, Ida was determined to create a mighty blow of epic proportions as well. Residents, filled with fear and uncertainty, boarded homes and evacuated.   

Before Ida moved away, she flung much of Louisiana into darkness, overcrowded hospitals into chaos, homes into shells, and hope into despair.

Heartbreak, loss, death, and sorrow are a part of our lives. We have had our fair share of them lately, but when their force comes out of the blue, out of our control, it seems to take our breath away. It wrings our emotions as we watch such horror.  Our belief in God and humanity is challenged.

We never know during every minute of our lives what another minute will bring.  Will we live another day to see our children? Will we still have a home tomorrow?  When will disease knock on our door or tragedy rush down our street?

We spar over our differing views, fight over politics, and try to make others see whatever “it” is our way.  Perhaps, it is more important to view the plight of those who need us to look their way, hear their pleas, respond to their pain, and be abundantly grateful that we can. 

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6: 2,3

The way I interpret those verses is those who have no empathy or understanding of other’s pain are not only not obeying a fundamental law of God, but they are nothing.

Selfishness needs to be blown away in the winds of destruction.  Our desire to control must give way to compassion. We cannot heal unless we put our comfort aside to aid our neighbors. God means it when he says we are nothing if we ignore others who suffer. We should never turn a blind eye to pain.  To receive God’s blessings upon us all, we must share our blessings.   

To not succumb to spiritual blindness, we should probably lay down our political attitudes and open our eyes to see God’s attitude toward us. We need to pause for a moment and think before we do nothing or cause further harm, “This could be me without a home. Those tears could be mine if I lost my babies.  I could be the one in an ICU fighting for life.”

We cannot control the devastation Mother Nature creates, but we can control the wrath we cause.

If we put on the cloak of compassion, we can cure a lot of ills. We can give to those who have lost so much to help them back on their feet. We can bless their children with a bed to lie on where they may dream again. If we care about others, we will don our masks, get a vaccine, and end a devastating pandemic that is now beginning to harm our children.   We will restore our souls if we open our eyes and contribute monetarily, physically, and spiritually to our suffering neighbors, the children who cry, and the exhausted medical teams who heal. In doing so, we will build our faith in each other and God.

We will become better, not bitter, people before the angels sweep our souls to Heaven’s safe shores. It is then we can look into the eyes of God without shame.