Posts Tagged ‘helping’

Let’s not let Disaster make us Victims……

There are so many lessons that you learn when you are in the midst of a flood, or any natural or man-made disaster.

It seems first there is this devastation and you live in a period of despair, or perhaps it is shock. What has always been is no more. You know that life has just changed and nothing will ever be the same again. You try to fight off the desperation and defeat, but it clings to you. It is not a pleasant feeling, and as feelings go, they make you think it is all important when actually feelings are just that…how you feel.

There is no right or wrong feeling. Feelings are just that….feelings. (didn’t I just say that?) You don’t control them, you don’t put them away, you can’t blame yourself for how you feel.

Feelings aren’t really important!

What you do because of those feelings is important. It is not OK to act on feelings, because if you do, you will act wrongly. It is those times when you have to reach out and let someone know that you are in a battle for your life. Perhaps someone will come riding in and pick you up, take you away, cheer you up and replace some of the despair with hope. Most importantly we must call out to God for help. He will never leave us or forsake us, and will be there and know and understand our pain and help us through it.

There have been times when I felt absolute joy…..I don’t remember those times much, because the feelings of joy seem to have gone off in another direction, and all that is left is a memory, a faint glimpse of another time, but now there is the helplessness, and the emptiness of houses without walls and floors and windows. There are those who sleep in doorways and it is cold. There are those who are in campers and tents and in shelters, all knowing that winter is coming very fast and they have no where else to go. There is the hand out of a stranger. There is the worry of how to keep your family warm, and will you be able to pay the many many bills that have staggered your existence.

I sometimes think that it would have been better to live in a “soddy” like the early settlers did, because then you would be able to survive without furnaces, and lights, plug ins to run the appliances. Then there was a cook stove with a warm oven door where you could dress your child in the morning. There was no need for make-up and baths were taken maybe once a week in a big tub. It might be easier to have a kerosene lantern for light, and the only TV was hands creating shadow objects on the wall. There were lessons to be learned, and one of those was….save everything because you might need it and you couldn’t afford to buy it. Food was scarce, and for many it is now. But then you carried your gun and hunted your food. You were strong, resolved, determined, courageous……You knew that only you would care for your family, and you had a mighty pioneer character that made you honorable, proud and self-supporting.

Times have changed and now without electricity we can’t operate. We have bought lots of tools and gadgets that require electricity or gas to run. Our lives are much easier, but our spirits are weaker. We still have some of the characteristics of years gone by. Many people have given to others their entire lives…..Those people are the people you hear others talk about and say things like, “ so-and-so would give you the shirt off their back”. Receiving, to those people is difficult, but that is one of the lessons in a disaster that you have to learn. We fail when we don’t ask for help. When we are too proud, to even tell someone we need help. I suspect I am a little like that. It is difficult to reach out to someone and ask for assistance. It is good that there are people who just take it upon themselves to help even if not asked. It is difficult to have someone give you money, even though you needed it. It is difficult to have someone come and clean the gunk out of your house, even though you needed it, and it needed to be done. It is difficult to allow someone to cook for you when you have always done it. It feels like you are going to “owe” everyone for the rest of your life.

Others in disasters become “takers”…..they are the ones who think the world owes them a living. We have raised a whole generation of these people. It is sad, because somewhere they got the impression that work wasn’t honorable, that they were incapable of working or caring for themselves, that if they sat, someone would come and do it for them. I think it happens when parents do “everything they can” to make their children’s lives easier for their children than what the parent had. I think it happens day by day. A child has a problem and the parent “fixes” it for them. What we should have done is let them learn how to deal with their problems by guiding them in how to do it. School may be another area that makes kids think they are not capable of handling anything for themselves. Take a “bully” as an example. Kids in school are told to “tell the teacher” if someone is picking on them or doing something mean. When I was young we learned to handle it ourselves. When that happened all the kids that were being “picked” on got together and confronted that bully, if that didn’t work, then they handled it physically. Bullies didn’t last long in my school, but they are all over the playground in my Grandchildren’s school.

When I was being chased by kids with garter snakes, my Dad said….”Well, what are you going to do about it?” “As long as you are afraid they will keep doing it.” “If you run away“, “they will keep on doing it.” “If you pretend to NOT be AFRAID…it will no longer be fun for them and they will eventually quit.” “Now, what do you want to do?” I chose to pretend, until the day I opened my desk and there was a coiled Rattlesnake looking at me. It wasn’t real, it was an image in plaster, but the first looked scared me to no end, and that was the day the bully no longer even got close to me, because he was beaten up in the classroom and embarrassed because a girl did that, and even though I was sent to see the principle….and had to sit in the hall the rest of the day….it was worth it.

It was freeing. I had handled it myself, and now I was stronger…..no longer afraid….not willing to be a victim anymore. Had the teacher been called into action to handle it, one person would have always had the ability to make me “feel” less competent. I learned that day, that I could take care of myself. I could be strong and courageous.

Our Grandchildren today are not being taught that they are strong, or that they are capable of handling their own problems. We are raising a generation of incompetent kids, that will end up having to be taken care of their whole lives. If we don’t empower our kids now, how in the world are they going to grow up and raise another generation of strong and courageous people….They aren’t!

What does this have to do with disaster? Well, it makes sense that people have to learn to care for themselves and the lessons of childhood, help them do that. Let them learn the lessons so they aren’t sitting and expecting “someone” to take care of them their whole life. Every tough spot we find ourselves in as children and adults will make us more capable of coming out the other side with new found strength and ability to deal with problems. The Bible says that “in this world there will be trouble.” So learning that it happens and that we are to deal with it is the only hope.

God does not expect us to sit around and do nothing and wait for someone to come along and help….He expects us to get up and do it ourselves. If he did he, then the Bible wouldn’t say “ those that don’t work, will not be allowed to eat.”

So what about this disaster business. Some people should be helped….All people need some help….those who don’t ask for or pretend to not need help…should most definitely be helped. Every person has something to learn during and after a disaster has entered their lives. Our job is to help others, and that may come in the form of money, shelter, food, clean-up, encouragement, tears shed together, words of love, a Father in Heaven who loves them and wants to be part of their life, who wants a relationship with them. So many lessons….we also have to learn to say “no” in a disaster. It is not alright to give someone who does nothing but take….more. They have lessons to learn too, and if we keep giving and giving then they will not learn and will not grow stronger.

Disasters are a complete “balancing act”. We are called to help, and feed, and care for each other. What form that takes, is up to each of us. The one thing that we must not do, is to grow weary in well-doing, but be there for people in the way God wants us to. Another thing we must do, is to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must gather with others who have gone through the same thing, and bring encouragement to them.

It has been said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” In a disaster, you can share the love of Jesus, and help them to know HE is always available, ALWAYS there, Always wanting to be their best friend. He is always there with His Gift of Forgiveness and Eternal Life, and all they have to do is ASK.

So as the days in a disaster time go on, we must pick up the pieces of our lives, give and take, love and wait, and watch and be….All that God has for us to be, so that others can become who God wants them to be!

Blessings to you All,

Prayyior

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