why do we need hurricanes to remind us what makes us better people?

The stories of bravery, compassion – heroism in the face of unimaginable adversity – have been captured by social media and more traditional TV coverage every minute of every day for the past week during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath on the Gulf Coast of Texas. The images are horrific and the devastation breath-taking, but the spirits of the people have become an inspiration to themselves and the rest of the country.

The generosity of Americans everywhere as cash donations pour in for the relief effort is amazing. The mobilization of individuals around the country volunteering to assist the rebuilding of neighborhoods that are drowning in record breaking rainfall which has caused dams to break and rivers to overflow is awesome and is a testament to the resilience of a unity that calls us to rise above the issues that divide us to celebrate our love and support for one another.

When helicopter rescuers drop a basket to save a family trapped on a roof, there is no discussion of race, transgender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or economic disparity – there is only the simple act of human kindness that transcends our bitter differences. As my cousin Melissa says, that’s a happy thing.

According to the governor of Texas today, all 50 states have responded to the tragedy with offers for assistance, and all branches of the military were deployed to step in and do what they are trained to do in emergency situations. They stepped in and stepped up as did all local first responders from the counties and cities of the area in addition to those who arrived from neighboring states.

I really can’t imagine how long the recovery and rebuilding process will be nor can I imagine standing in long lines with my family waiting for the basics of food, water, clothing and a place to sleep…but I have seen the faces of people who have lost everything except each other in those long lines and while they are beginning to grasp their new reality of losses, they huddle together as a family to confront their uncertain future.

You see, I am a dreamer and a hopeless romantic about the good in people and when I see that good so evident this week in the midst of Hurricane Harvey, the sharp contrast of the images of the anger and hatred in Charlottesville, Virginia seem a little less permanent.

I share the optimism of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who said:

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…

Our house stands today with our brothers and sisters across the country who struggle to unite, to comfort, to believe that goodness and kindness are the common values we cheer – the values that a hurricane named Harvey reminds us to celebrate this Labor Day weekend.

Be safe and strong.


About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is a personal historian, essayist with humorist tendencies, lesbian activist, truth seeker and speaker in the tradition of other female Texas storytellers including her paternal grandmother. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press published her collection of first-person accounts of a few of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBTQ organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBTQ history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published five nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and two collections of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. Her latest book, Four Ticket Ride, was released in January, 2019. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike, Charly and Carl. She is also Naynay to her two granddaughters Ella and Molly James who light up her life for real. Born in rural Grimes County, Texas in 1946 her Texas roots still run wide and deep.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Reflections, sports, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to why do we need hurricanes to remind us what makes us better people?

  1. Wayside Artist says:

    Wwll said, Sheila! Natural disasters bring out the best in people, proving we CAN live in charity with one another… No hurricane needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Slatten says:

    Love this post.
    I think we tend to overlook kindnesses in every day life so that when they occur in these “big” moments, we’re shocked.
    We should be more aware.

    Liked by 1 person

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