Looking out my window during Winter Storm Octavia, I was tickled to see our neighbors sledding down the slight hills of their yard, screaming in delight, and then doing it over and over again. The temps were freezing with a wind chill of way below zero, but they didn’t mind. They were enjoying this rare snow storm!
The snow was beautiful as it flowed softly to the ground casting a wonderment of white across the land. Many people were excited to see the snow and all the fun it brought with it. But for many, it was very stressful as people tried to get to work and then had to deal with all the damage the storm caused.
Yes, there was a lot of devastation, but many Tennesseans pulled together and got out to help one another. It didn’t matter what a person looked like, who they were, what religion, or whatever. It was human beings helping human beings. And friends, that’s what it’s all about…our being there to help each other.
Why does it take a tragedy to bring people together on a greater scale? During and after 9/11, people from all over the world banded together to help those affected by this horrendous disaster. The same with Katrina. And not just events that occur in our country, but when things happen in other countries, people everywhere unselfishly go out of their way to assist anyone who is in need.
But then things settle down, people get back into their daily routines, and we forget. We stop going out of our way to help others. Not everyone…but many. There was still a lot to be done after 9/11, Katrina, and other disasters, but when the media stops reporting, people think nothing else needs to be accomplished.
What’s worse is that some religionists come out of the woodwork and claim that God made these things happen to punish people, and it’s usually in accord with that person’s beliefs and God is punishing whomever that particular person disagrees with. S/he uses God to back up their personal judgmental and hateful agendas and that’s very sad.
God does not cause bad things to happen to anyone! What kind of loving God would do such a thing? Not the God that I believe in! According to many beliefs, God made people to have free will. That means we make the choices as to whether or not we are going to help or harm. People blame God for so many things in this world, but we as human beings have the power and the ability to make changes for the better! There is no reason for anyone in the world to go hungry, but do we feed them? There is no reason for anyone to go without healthcare, but do we cover them? There is no reason for people to be homeless, but do we house them? Some are trying! It’s interesting to hear some complain that they don’t want government in their business, but when it comes to caring for others, they’ll say that it’s the government’s problem.
Sometimes I think that these tragic events happen to remind us that we really are a part of each other...that what affects one affects all. All the great spiritual teachers throughout time have taught us to take care of one another. Jesus even said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” So why can’t we do this consistently?
Many do! There are many people and organizations that do get it and are out there living the Golden Rule! The Golden Rule in some form is in most, if not all, Holy Books and writings! I so wish we could stop all this hate/bigotry nonsense and know that we are all the same. We’re all children of God, the Universe, the Cosmos. We were all made equally; it is only man that makes us different based solely on our beliefs.
In the book “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, Billy says, “If people could see each other’s souls, all war would end, and everyone would go feed the hungry children.” If we could really see each other’s souls, we would see a reflection of ourselves, and we would really know the true meaning of loving and caring for one another. And the Dalai Lama said, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.”
Thank you to all who have been out there helping others during this crisis whether you are a professional or neighbor helping neighbor! We love you and appreciate you!
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen Newspaper February 27, 2015.