This morning I was standing in front of the daycare children, leading chapel. My assignment was to share the first story of Creation in Genesis, about how God created all of us and declared that all of creation was “good”. And of course, the only thing on my mind was the damage and flooding in southeast Texas.
I read to them how in the beginning the earth was covered in chaotic waters, but how God said, “Let the waters recede so that dry land can appear.” We sang the Noah song, about how it “rained and rained for forty daisy daisies” before the “sun came out and dried up the landy landy”. And we gave God the “glory, glory”.
We sang the promise that God has “got the whole world in his hands… has got the wind and the rain in his hands.” We sang, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart”. But, all the while, feelings of joy were hard to come by. And frankly, I was struggling to see that ALL of Creation was “good”—at least not the hurricane-causing parts of it.
It’s hard to feel the joy, when I know our sisters and brothers in Texas are suffering so much, and when earlier this morning I spoke with my parents who were in the middle of deciding whether to evacuate on one of the boats coming down their street as the rising waters crept closer and closer to their front door.
But while joy was hard to come by, thankfulness and gratitude still come much easier. Namely, I am thankful that so many people are responding, reaching out to help those in need. I am thankful that my parents, if they had decided to leave (they didn’t have to), had a place to go nearby because they have neighbors whose family is in an area not flooded. It’s one thing to go through a disaster, but it’s another thing to go through one alone, without a place to go. I really believe the greatest blessing we have in life is the people God connects us with.
Also, I am thankful that our local church is actively connected to our denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), because when we desire to respond to the need in Texas, we can know that we already have. Disciples’ Week of Compassion disaster relief is already helping. We are already helping because we gave to Week of Compassion this year as we do every February, and we have a tangible way to give over and above this month to continue to support disaster relief. I feel grateful that we are connected with partners like the West Texas Food bank, so we can join in collecting dry goods they will bring down there.
This is what it means to be connected, to have partners, that we have a way of being present with those in need. It will be years of recovery for our southeast neighbors, but we will be sure to let our Texas family know that we are all part of the same family in Creation, and that even when the wind and the rain feels out of control, whatever you go through, you will not go through it alone.