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Look for the Helpers

Over the last few days life has seemed somewhat surreal. We have been cut off from the world in many ways—no power, no internet, no access to public sites due to road closures and business closures, and little to no cell phone service to access email, social media, or even text messages/phone calls. I repeatedly tried to reach out to friends and family via phone or text only to be told my phone “has no access to the network.” Even though I am housed in a city subdivision, the feeling is that of being in a secluded cabin in the woods somewhere. When I have attempted to venture out I see mass destruction everywhere. Trees in the rooves of almost every house I pass, trees and power poles blocking the roads I try to travel, and buildings are just crushed underneath the weight of trees or power poles. The news footage shows other roads so submerged by water and flooding that they are on rescue missions to remove people out of housing with boats. In nearly five decades of life I’ve never seen this much destruction firsthand. Sure, I’ve seen it on the news in faraway places—but here? In my own backyard? That’s something I haven’t felt before. It’s a bit overwhelming. If I let myself sit in it, I might even feel discouraged or afraid. But I don’t let myself do that. Instead, I follow the advice of a childhood hero, Mr. Rogers.

I keep venturing out and I keep searching for the one thing I know will help combat this devastation, and this discouragement—the helpers. And there they are—everywhere, all around us. I see the ambulances rushing to save a life. I see the firetrucks rushing to rescue. I see the emergency aid—not just from our hometown, but from all over the United States, in fact—driving on every road I travel. I see them literally everywhere. I see representatives from Mississippi, Alabama, and even as far as Ohio here in tree-removal trucks, power trucks, and emergency aid vehicles. I see city workers standing at every intersection, directing traffic in the absence of power to run the traffic lights. I see law enforcement officers with lights flashing, helping direct traffic in congested areas where people are directionless and confused. I see essential workers, like hospital staff, still attending their regular shifts, not slowing down in their quest to help others. And over the last few days, I have seen order slowly being restored. I see trees cut up and stacked on the sides of the roads they once blocked. I see tarps on the rooves of the houses that were once gaping open. I see houses getting their power back, I see businesses reopening, and I see roads opening back up with working traffic lights. Normalcy is not fully restored yet. I, among many others, am still without power and internet. But I see the light shining through the clouds and I feel the hope rising. We are going to be okay. Thanks to the helpers.

I’m even learning to see the benefits in this whole situation. Losing internet has made us all connect more to each other, in person. My kids and I were playing board games instead of watching internet videos. I have been sleeping to the beautiful sounds of crickets in the fresh breeze instead of the hum of the AC. And did you know that cold showers actually have a lot of health benefits? Who knew?? They improve your mood, improve your skin and hair, boost your metabolism and your immune system, just to name a few! I am choosing to stay grateful, am looking for the rainbows—because I know they are coming. Won’t you join me?

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