The left hates the right. The right hates the left. The middle hates them both. The poor hate the rich. The Klan hates the blacks. The Nazis hate the Jews. Everyone hates the Nazis. Country folk hate city folk. And vice versa. And on and on.
We have deep-rooted hatreds in America. Despite our “enlightened” society and status as a “First World” country, our divisions and divisiveness are plentiful. They color our worldview and color our behavior.
And then Mother Nature comes by and reminds us we are all human.
I am moved by the terrible photos and stories coming out of Texas. I am just as moved by the wonderful photos and stories coming out of Texas.
People. Not blacks or whites or republicans or democrats. People. Helping other people. The ridiculous trappings of left or right, tint of skin or religious beliefs shorn away by the commonality of human suffering and need.
Nothing shows the true heights to which the human race can ascend than the amazing acts of grace and kindness that appear in the face of overwhelming loss.
When Wilma came barreling through our homes over a decade ago, I had been living in my house for 10 years already. During that time I didn’t know the name of any neighbor. I kept to myself, went to work and came home. The end.
Then we were left with no power and partial roofs. Torn fences and damaged windows. Any store that was accessible was closed. It was our finest hour.
A ladder from Carlos. Some food from Farouk. Water from Alan and Lori. And I gave as much as I could. Paper and plastic servingware. Bread. Spare propane tanks. Nails. Tools.
Don’t ask me the ethnicity or religions of my neighbors. I never asked and I still haven’t. But I learned their names. And I learned their hearts. And in their hearts I recognized my own, the one true heart that we all share…humanity.
When we are within the devastation and the destruction, we rarely take note of those noblest of impulses. We act without consideration and only in consideration. It shows the truth behind our pretend lies: we don’t have different values. Our values are all shared, by each and every one of us: Safety. Security. Life.
And helping others in need.
Mother Nature comes through our lives with occasional instances of horrific destruction. Yet, there is no motive or anger or indignation or agenda. Perhaps that’s why it’s so easy to find everyone helping everyone in such a time. There’s no one to blame. Not the government, not the immigrants, not the intolerant.
There are just people. People in need. People who are us and people who could be us.
And then we forget. We put back on our costumes; drape ourselves in our biases and prejudices and don’t remember we are all who we are. We forget what we are capable of in our haste to return to that smaller version of ourselves.
We don’t have to. We can be better than we are. We show it each time Mother Nature rebukes us. Remind yourselves. Remind your friends. See what we are in the wake of these disasters and remember!