On Monday morning, like most other mornings in my life, I get up fairly early, before most dawns, and head out to the living room, pull back the drapes a bit, and check my neighborhood.
I want to make sure we all made it through the night OK. As usual, I see neatly trimmed yards and nicely kept houses. The cars and trucks are all parked just where they should be.
But this Monday morning was different. As I looked out the window at my quiet and orderly neighborhood, I saw in my mind’s eyes the Sunday images of the shattered neighborhoods in the tornado-struck Washington.
I close my curtain, walk away and imagine what those Washington folks will feel as they wake up on Monday morning — the images they will see in their minds. I think how they should be fixing breakfast in their own homes, getting ready for work or school. I think about how they should be organizing their minds around the responsibilities of their day.
But instead, they are waking up without their homes, without their routines, no doubt not sure how to step forward to rebuild not just their houses but their lives.
How do people wrap their minds, much less their hearts, around such loss?
I can’t help but wonder why some people and communities, like mine, are spared while others are not, at least this time. I could try to become more philosophical, even more spiritual, and still not know that I have found the answers for what seems to be unanswerable.
But the question worth asking is not so much why, but rather what do we do now?
And that’s where the rest of us come into the picture for the residents of Washington, as well as other communities and countries when they face tragic emergencies.
While the families of Washington are picking their way through the remains of their houses, contacting insurance companies and figuring out how to regroup their lives, the rest of us can do more than just watch the news and sympathize for a few minutes.
We can take our own steps, from our sheltered homes, to give some money or supplies to one of the many local businesses, organizations and individuals who have started collection points for Sunday’s tornado victims. We may not be able to give a lot, but we can give.
And that’s the point. When someone is in a crisis situation, we can’t usually take the problem away or make all things better for them. No matter how tough, in many ways we each walk our own journeys by ourselves in our own hearts and minds. If we are fortunate, we walk our journeys in small clusters of family and friends.
But still, while we watch from the sidelines, we can do something, maybe just one thing, to reach out to those in need and try to lighten their burdens a bit.
This is our time to help.
BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.