There are absolutely no doubts of any kind when seeing and acknowledging the depth of devastation all around – when nature is angry – it unleashes its wrath in ways unthinkable. It is not a time to blame “God”, for oftentimes they are not ‘acts of God” but rather, I dare say, the ‘miscalculations’ of us human beings, trying to manipulate nature.
As I sat on a log, high above the receding waterline of the recent floods, there are many things that grapple my mind, and with it, the lessons we can glean from such experiences…. The stench in places becomes unbearable – but then we should be thankful that we are alive and have a sense of smell. Despite the devastation and within just a few days of the retreating waters, we can notice new life spring up, poking its tender head above the debris. Nature is ready to start all over again.
We should learn to Rejoice – oh yes…….. be grateful that we have the ability to grow in spite of ‘everything’.
I can see rodents stealthily move around devouring the “food for them”, and snakes slithering in the murky waters, ants do what they best do…. clearing up the mess one particle at a time…… oh yes….. they are helping Nature…. Can we dare complain?? We ought to be grateful……….and Rejoice that Nature is slowly healing itself.
I am thankful to see ‘beauty’ amidst destruction, and despite the misery and anguish, I hear jokes and even laughter that lightens the scenes of destruction, taking time of relief to celebrate God’s provision. Looking all around I can observe how the ‘disaster” has produced hope in times of despair, smiles in the midst of the rubble and a determined spirit to survive despite the odds, and energy exhumed.
They are also trying to provide and care for their own families and families of others, regardless of cast or religion.
One can also see many survivors spending their days standing in line to charge cell phones so that they can call family – renew connections with loved ones. Their days are also spent in mile-long lines for relief kits. Their days are spent picking through the rubble, trying to patch together their homes. Their days are spent catching rainwater to drink and bathe in. Their nights are spent in the warmth of a bonfire made from wood salvaged from what was once their home. Many must wait for months for electricity and roads to be restored so that the much-needed food and medical assistance can come in Their days are also spent caring for others, making sure their community members and outreach centers are receiving aid. They are also trying to provide and care for their own families and families of others, regardless of cast or religion. They are encouraging each other by restoring their own lives as well as those of their community.
In many strange ways, people are somehow beginning to understand the meaning of thankfulness. They are thankful for life – no matter how hard it may be right now. I overheard someone say, “I am thankful that no one in my family has died.” They are alive and thankful. Surviving and starting over is hard work, but then this is exactly what they are doing. Complaining has almost come to a stop. Rebuilding TOGETHER is giving them hope and a purpose to see positive things in disastrous circumstances.
Where there is struggle, there is a silver lining, and through tough times, negative experiences, and lessons learned the hard way, appreciation for life is there to pull us up. When it feels like we’re drowning in the negative, it’s hard to find the way out, but for all we have in life, gratitude should remain constant as a guiding light.
I’m thankful for the many men and women who have shown me the meaning of grace under fire. They’ve shown Peace amidst the storm.
I am thankful for the energy they exude and the willingness to start all over again from the “leftovers”, when all I want to do in their situation, is collapse in exhaustion. I’m here for just a few months. They have been here for years. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight.
I can hear the words of comfort ring in my head – “You make beautiful things out of the dust,” from the song “Beautiful Things” by the Christian music group Gungor. How true, IF only we have an Attitude of Gratitude.
Gratitude is the fastest and easiest way to joy. An attitude of gratitude immediately puts out a positive vibration into the universe.
When you put that positive energy out there, positive energy comes back to you. If you are feeling down or depressed, try focusing on something that you are grateful for and see what happens. Like a bee spreading pollen from flower to flower, soon there will be a field of gratitude flowers growing around you. Like any habit, recognizing gratitude takes some time.”
I am thankful God will create new things, beautiful things, out of the dust and in the aftermath of the devastation. I’m thankful that though I can’t quite see the end result, I know that beautiful things are happening and greater things are going to happen, and I’m already seeing glimpses of that beauty amidst the ruins.
We each have stories of God’s help and God’s care, times when we were in trouble and somehow things came out all right; times when we received help when we needed it most – from people who cared. This is a good time to remember those stories, to remind each other that the Lord is good; God’s love endures forever. When we know that God is for us, it is possible to live in faith instead of in fear, even in the face of death. And when we know that God is for us, we can have an attitude of trust—an attitude that sees God’s hand at work in our lives and in the lives of those we love.
“So much has been given to me; I have no time to ponder over that which has been denied.”
“As long as this exists, this sunshine and this cloudless sky, and as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing”.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
Let each of us give thanks for the little we already have and we will find and realize that we actually have a lot.