WE ALL NEED HELP DURING CRISIS by Rector Chris Girata
FORGIVE YOURSELF was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, #23 | November 9, 2019
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Good friends of mine lost their home entirely. The morning after the storm, more than 50 people descended on their house to help them pack up all the things inside that were salvageable before the house was taken down. It was an amazing sight to see: so many people working so quickly to help their friends.
When storms strike, especially big ones, we are reminded of our humanity.
As the day progressed, people began to notice that other families on the same street, people who also lost their homes too, did not have the same support. Seeing that those other families were trying to clean up on their own, some of our team went to help them. They approached one of the homeowners and offered to help clear big tree limbs, but the homeowner declined. He said he could do it on his own and didn’t need any help.
Faced with overwhelming damage, this man declined help and he wasn’t the only one. Multiple people wanted to do the work on their own, without the help of others. We are made for community, made to be connected to one another, but sometimes people fail us and we begin to separate ourselves from others in order to keep ourselves safe. The reactions of these neighbors made me wonder just how much our desire for security has perverted us.
When storms strike, especially big ones, we are reminded of our humanity. Most of us work hard to create security and predictability for ourselves and our families. We sleep behind locked doors, we try to save for the future and we stay away from people who might hurt us. Yet none of us are immune to the awesome power of nature, which reminds us that we are not quite as secure as we think we are.
This might sound scary at first, but let me assure you, life has always been this way. Our world tells us that we can aspire for a level of security that will take the fear away, but that kind of security is mostly a fantasy. And when we seek that temptation, we tend to separate from others. That separation causes us to lose the community we need.
We have all been hurt by someone. I imagine we all go through multiple experiences early in life that prove to us that being vulnerable makes it easier to be hurt, so we learn to protect ourselves with walls and barriers. But as we move through life, those walls can keep us from the good, meaningful, healthy relationships we truly need.
No matter how far apart we might seem, no matter how great a chasm divides us from our neighbors, we are meant to be together.
Life is full of ups and downs, joy and heartbreak, but there is beauty in the mess. We cannot know true joy without knowing true pain, and the joy is worth the pain. We have been reminded of our vulnerability, and I hope we have also been reminded just how much we need one another.
No matter how far apart we might seem, no matter how great a chasm divides us from our neighbors, we are meant to be together. I have been reminded just how much my community means to me, and I hope you have been, too. If you feel alone, know there are places where you can belong. There are beautiful communities of good people grounded in love, so go out and find them. Bad things happen and will happen again. Next time, make sure your community is strong enough to weather those storms together.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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