… For American’s To Build A Unified House of Brick?
I’m in the midst of turmoil, tossed, not by hurricane Matthew or its threat, but by how and why catastrophes must present for Americans to band together as one! We love fractionating ourselves assigning or detracting value from this quarter or that half…
Hurricane Matthew brings home a profound truism: adversity cares not about socioeconomics, ethnicity, gender, race, etc.
In looking at my community’s response and how we came together in the wake of Matthew, I honestly feel at every American’s core is a love for both their country and its inhabitants irrespective of what’s superficially portrayed at political rallies, protests, debates and such. How else might I explain my neighbors from varying backgrounds heartfeltly pitching in to “keep” their “brothers,” so to speak, as this new big, bad wolf called, Matthew, deeply inhales intending to blow those of us and our houses down along America’s southeastern coasts?
I witnessed this first hand twice between yesterday and the day prior: in The Dollar Tree, a young Black man who was about to take the last four bottles of water from the store’s shelves willingly shared with an older White police officer. He graciously thanked the young man who in return responded, “No problem sir, you take care!” The officer only minutes before held the door open for me stating he was too busy to stock up on water and this store was his last resort. Despite orders by our governor to evacuate, he intended to stay behind just help out. The interaction between the two, in summary, was short, sweet, poignant and beautiful! Where were social media and network reporters to capture “this” story, I thought?
As for my next example, I must first set the stage: many of you know I am a traveling Ob/Gyn who helps out across rural America. I don’t generally have time to keep up with breaking news. In fact, I often shy away from it because it’s mostly sensational and negative. I heard rumblings. “Matthew this, Matthew that… would make it to Florida’s coast this week.” I couldn’t slow down long enough to digest this or any other unpalatable meal media kept wanting to dish onto my plate!
Nearing the finish of my assignment in Blue Earth, Minnesota, I received a flu vaccination last Thursday before leaving for my coastal home in South Carolina’s Low-country this past Saturday. By Monday, full-blown flu-like symptoms were upon me! The internal storm within and the one threatening without made me wonder whether I could/should evacuate as Governor Haley soon mandated. Intending to hunker down and weather Matthew, I began securing my home Tuesday morning despite a temperature of 101 and chills!
On looking neighbors, whom I’d never met, and members of a local Mormon church helping out their member living immediately next door to me, noticed my condition and that I was alone. They graciously offered to assist me in boarding ground level windows and helped move lawn furniture and statues inside my garage. That I was not of their race, generation, creed, ethnicity, sexual orientation, clique, etc mattered not… It was as if we were one! Again, I asked where was social and network media to capture these happenings? I didn’t think until now I’d blog on the subject or I would have taken photos of our cohesive, diverse unit in action. Apologies!
She took them on the fly while hurrying out!
Her neighbor, a brave Marine sent his young 38-week pregnant wife on with their toddler yesterday to relatives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Against my orders, she climbed a ladder helping us nail boards in place. However, she did comply with my next prescription: a mandatory 30-minute rest; leg elevation, hydration, and contraction monitoring before heading off to Northernmost parts up I-95.)
At the last minute, I packed a small bag and evacuated fearing repercussions from the storm brewing without more than the one already within. I called a friend in metro-Atlanta about 246 miles away who offered safe haven if I could make it . The trip took twice as long given congested highways. With a 200-ct box of tissues, a carton of kiwi’s, my iPOD touch, two wings and a prayer, I made it!
Now sprawled across my friend’s couch having used the last of my 200-ct tissues, I tear, blow, blog and reflect on events since returning from Blue Earth, Minnesota. It seems surreal as if I’m in an art gallery interpreting a collection of paintings… In this short time span barely encompassing a week, it seems as impossible that all of this has passed and even more is yet to come as Matthew touches down today.
In earnest, this traveling Ob/Gyn believes superficially, we behave as if our minute differences matter in this vast world. However, on a deeper level when adversity threatens our communities, we ban together. It’s as if when facing adversity, we understand a single sect/individual can, at most, build a house of straw whereas together as God’s intended community, we have the wherewithal to build one of brick such that when big, foul-breathed Matthew blows, we might survive!
Before bedding down this wee hour Friday morning, October 7th, 2016, I pray for God, bless, protect, guide, strengthen us… that bonds formed because of Matthew remain forever strong lasting long after his passing. Amen!