and bringing hope and helping hands.
The map in the USA Today this morning sent chills through my spine as I saw that the path of the tornadoes was an almost perfect outline of where Jay and I had planned to travel over the next 3 weeks. We still plan to follow that route, but now our journey takes on added significance as we have the opportunity to lend a hand along the way and report back from some of the areas that have been devastated by these storms.
I have been very lucky to never experience a natural disaster first hand. I have completed FEMA training in emergency response, but have never needed or wanted to use it. Now I feel compelled to service, but truly frightened about what we will encounter.
I was fortunate to spend this afternoon watching, New York Says Thank You. This documentary follows a group of New Yorkers who survived 9/11 and decided to pay back the kindness and assistance they receieved from all over the country, by travelling around the U.S. on the 9/11 anniversary to rebuild areas that also been devastated by disaster. New York Says Thank You delivers a message of hope and a lesson in how to rebuild. Rebuild in the physical sense, but more importantly, how to renew our spirit and find hope in the kindness of strangers. When your life is taken away from you through violent storms or violent acts, it requires generosity to find the trust and hope required to get it back.
We were just reading Back to Bisbee and the author was remarking on how many times Bisbee Arizona had been destroyed by fire and flood. Each time, the citizens of Bisbee rebuilt their homes in the same places, only to have them destroyed again in the next disaster. I couldn’t understand why. Why don’t people just move and seek out an area that is less prone to fire and flood? Watching this movie gave me new insight into the human response to destruction. There is an important healing in rebuilding. In putting the pieces back where they belonged. You may build stronger or smarter, but you must rebuild. And what New York Says Thank You has found, is that by rebuilding alongside of other disaster survivors, you get more back than what you lost. You form new friendships and a new appreciation for the American spirit of resilience and volunteerism.
I hope that as we travel through the south this May we can do good works and be helpful. But I know that as we travel and show kindness to strangers in their hour of need, we will be offering more than that, and we will receive as much as we give.