I have been captivated by the power of wind and water as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have battered the southern coastline of the U.S. The destructive combination forces of wind and water hammered homes and businesses; cars were smashed into deadly chunks of metal and inches of water swelled to several, dangerous feet. Entire communities were engulfed. People were swept away by the current.
It is difficult — in the wake of such devastation — to find light underneath the rubble.
But God has created resiliency in the human spirit. It seems for every crushing story I’m also finding one overflowing with compassion and care, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances reaching out to help each other. Communities are rallying around one another for survival and living what it means to lose everything not as individuals, but as neighbors.
These stories don't end in loss: resurrection follows, new communities take shape through sharing values; people put aside self-interest and commit to the common good.
In December, 1923, the community gathered at the scene of the St. Rose Convent fire
Walking together — and sticking together — takes courage and conviction but also generates power to shape the future. I am reminded of the stories I‘ve heard, images I’ve seen, of a fire that burned a section of FSPA’s St. Rose Convent to the ground in 1923. Many people flocked to the scene and helped not only rescue sisters but also to provide comfort, food and shelter. The goodness of people prevailed and the convent was rebuilt by 1925. (And there is so much more to know about FSPA history!)
Photo courtesy of "La Crosse Tribune"
And as a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, I know that my sisters will be here for me and I too will support them, not only in the significant life trials like death and ill health and transition of ministry but also in the day-to-day ups and downs.
This week, ponder how you have or might react when life changes in an instant. Do you reach out to help others or do you pull away and retreat?
How has your discernment revealed who is firmly by your side, committed to helping you create new beginnings during hurricane moments?