I used those exact words last week to describe the way my little hometown rallied around the Smit family. Amy actually wrote a post tonight describing the flood of support she received from the community because today, we find ourselves under water. Literally.
And again, our little hometown came together in support of those who needed it. I had no idea how aggressively the water was rising. I mean, I was acutely aware that I left a balmy Florida morning to return to a 46 degree driving rainstorm that lasted from early afternoon and through the night, but I didn’t realize we were that close to flood conditions. Then, this morning, the school closed after an initial two-hour delay and I was like, ‘whoa, it must be bad. i’m sure no one wants to add more days to the end of this already extended school year!’
When I got to work, I started seeing photos on Facebook and sure enough, it was awful. My heart sank because seriously, ‘why?’ It feels like we’ve had about all we can handle in the past two weeks. The other day when I was blissfully unaware of anything but sand, sun and wave-busting, I learned of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Then, courtroom threats. Then, an explosion in Texas. It just keeps piling on.
I saw friends passing around a photo of a Fred Rogers quote the other day and, although it didn’t answer the ‘why?’ question, it did remind us of the reason we just keep believing and doing what we do:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
Through all of these events, I’ve felt relatively helpless to be honest. I didn’t work at the church collecting donations for Amy and her family. I didn’t sort or box a single thing, however, I knew there was a group of people specifically called to do that and I am so thankful for all that they did. When I watched the news the other day, I saw the individuals who rushed to the aid of others; helping in any way that they could and I’m thankful for them, too. Today, I saw photos from Hopkins and watched as students and adults helped protect businesses from the effects of the rising waters. And again, I wasn’t there to help but I sure appreciated those folks getting out in their waders and throwing around sand bags.
But, I’ve tried to find ways in all of these things to help from afar. Everyone can, really. Sometimes, it’s just praying. I know some (and maybe even some reading this) will think that’s a load of crap. It isn’t. We can agree to disagree. Sometimes, it’s by donating; whether that’s money, time, clothing, a race in honor … whatever. We all have something to give. Sometimes, it’s by being forced to help. I doubt anyone in Boston the other day anticipated the help that would be required of them, but they did it. The point is, we can all be helpers. And my other point (can I have two)? Similar to what Fred Rogers said, look for the good. There is always good.
Hopkins is a small town. There are lots of fields and farms and cows and yes, someone even took a photo of a tractor driving through town today. People like to tease us and comment on our country ways (and our flippin’ propane tanks) but given what I’ve witnessed over the past two weeks, I’m proud to say it’s where I come from. I’m proud of the helpers there and for the way that we take care of each other. It’s just what we do. Oh, and I’m also proud of the fact that some made lemons out of lemonade and got their canoes out. Yeah, we do that too.