Harvey and Irma. They sound like the couple on a local morning news show celebrating 65 years of marriage. They are someone’s aunt and uncle, harmless almost helpless, inspiration to all that know them. They don’t sound like destructive forces of nature. The 1,000 year flooding no one, including FEMA, expected. At least one’s rage leaving lives in piles of debris. Anticipation of the other’s wrath has others in dread. But in the aftermath of Harvey and all its tragedy and anticipation of Irma and what she may bring, the local news covers reasons for celebration.
It is images of the America, we all hope for. The America we envision whenever we try to fathom what might be our darkest hours. In the wake of Harvey, it is images of people with boats, who likely had never done a rescue, navigating flooded streets in neighborhoods they never would have found themselves in for any other reason on any other day because there is no other place they could imagine being. It is volunteers at shelters and food banks for the fifth, sixth or seventh consecutive day. Volunteers, whose lives would have barely intersected prior to the storm, working together. Their lives woven together by a single purpose, to serve their community. It is firefighters, first responders and rescue personnel from across this country. Not thinking about getting home, to family and loved ones, but moving from Texas to Florida in anticipation of a new need for their service. Accepting a new challenge and continued sacrifice.
It is millions of other Americans, donating and giving to others they don’t know.
It is images, in the news, that you don’t need to shelter your children from. Images of those who can, taking hold of those who can’t. Images of humanity rising above flood waters. Gestures of kindness that transcend race or religion or anything else that may divide.