May 2, 2014 10:52:27 AM
The aftermath of storms such as the ones we witnessed this week remind of what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature."
Divided as we often are on political, social, religious, economic and race issues, when tragedy deals a staggering blow, we find in ourselves a strong compulsion to put aside personal differences.
This week, people who might not have agreed on much of anything Monday morning worked shoulder to shoulder Tuesday morning. The buzz of chainsaws and the echo of hammers were the soundtrack of communities rallying to take care of their own.
Likewise, relief agencies, government officials, utility companies, law enforcement, hospitals, churches, civic organizations and ordinary citizens sprang into action in the wake of the devastation, each playing their own role.
Residents who, in the first few hours after the storm, were overwhelmed by the damage done to their property and may have wondered if it was even possible to recover, soon discovered that they would not have to face the challenge alone. Often without any call for help, others came to their aid. Some were friends. Many were strangers. It didn't seem to matter.
For some, it meant rolling up sleeves and helping remove storm debris. Others donated food, water and money. So many helped, each according to his or her ability.
It is comforting to know that when tragedies strike, none of us are alone, that there are so many good people out there who are ready to help ease our suffering, often in ways we could not imagine.
Fortunately, events of the scale we witnessed this week are not common. Yet every day is a tragic day for someone. A car accident, an illness, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one -- these personal tragedies generally do not command the attention of an entire community. These "little storms" of life are no less debilitating for those who are affected by them.
This week, our community has proven its compassion on a large scale. We hope that spirit of compassion is not relegated to some locked storehouse of our hearts, to be retrieved only when the big storms come.
We hope that the outpouring of kindness we witnessed this week will inspire us all to stand ready not only for the big storms to come, but the little storms, too.