I went to my school's Back to School Night last night (I am a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for my day job). I love back to school nights. There is such a large amount of energy, anticipation, excitement, nerves...just about every emotion you can imagine.
This year, as I was watching all these emotions running through the faces of the parents and their children, my thoughts inevitably drifted to the families in Texas. They aren't having their back to school night, because some of them no long have a school to go to. Their lives have completely changed.
We all experience an array of emotions when things change. Life throws changes at us in all kinds of ways: fast, slow, good, and devastating. The bottom line for change is that the life we lived is no longer. In some way, we must be different.
It is the crux of the human condition. And there is no way around it.
The people of Texas had their lives change dramatically, terribly, and irrevocably. And the response of the people to this change will be as varied as the stories that will come out of this disaster. Some will hold their head high and charge forward. Some will be brave and do their best, and cry at night. Some will experience trauma and emotional issues. Still others will grieve at the loss of their loved ones and homes. Some will open their doors and hearts to help their fellow neighbors as part of a community.
This is truly what we are called to do in order to deal with the changes that occur in our life. We are called to be part of a community. Our first order of business when we are part of a community is to reach out our hands and say "Hello, I am glad you are here." Just this act alone is healing. It helps all of us cope with the change. It empowers us, because when we feel powerless over the changes in our life, we become frightened as a natural reaction. Someone, anyone, reaching out saying hello, offering whatever they have, even if it's just a smile is comforting. This is community. This is a beginning to moving forward and hopefully realizing that ultimately, everything is going to be ok.
The road ahead may be bumpy when things change, but the journey is always better when we all stick together, help one another, and respect each other.
This is why I love Back to School Night- because we are all at the beginning and acknowledging that we are all very much in this together. We are with our brothers and sisters in Texas. We offer our prayers and aid as part of a larger faith community. It may not seem like much, but it is what we can offer that will be the most use. It is what Christ called us to do:
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give."
Yours in Christ,
Karen Rodgers, Vestryperson