How Can I Help?

Yesterday several men from our Church travelled to Moore Oklahoma to help the tornado victims there. Much to my surprise, we actually did help a few.

When you first see the destruction the car grows silent. You feel very small, and start to ask simple questions: How could something this destructive happen? How did anyone survive this? How can these people possibly rebuild their lives? What could I possibly do to help?

You put your head down and determine to do something anyway. When you arrive at the volunteer center, you see thousands who arrived before you. Your escape mechanisms go into action: “They don’t need me. They have plenty help already. I should go.” But you don’t go. You stay, and wait to be told what to do. Then you walk out into the disaster area and look for a place to start.

When I met Sharon, she was shockingly joyful. She had lost her home, her pets, and basically everything she owned but she was uninjured by the storm and her family members were all safe.

While we were talking, she mentioned that she had already signed up to have a bulldozer come and remove the slab and debris. All of a sudden I lost all my motivation to keep carrying loads of brick to the curb. If a bulldozer was coming, why was I there?

But we kept listening to her story, and kept picking up remnants of her house. As she talked about all the people who came to help, her face lit up. Then I finally figured it out.

We were not there to “do anything.” The bulldozers would do in ten minutes what we could not do in twenty hours. We were there to “be something.” For Sharon, we were hope incarnate.

We put our arms around her and told her that she was not alone. We would be here for her. She had not been forgotten. And she believed us.

When we show up, at a funeral, in a hospital room, or at someone’s reception we incarnate love. We personify hope. We communicate on a level far deeper than words that you are not forgotten. Being there may be the highest calling any of us ever receive.