Yesterday Adam and I headed down to the Bayou a few blocks from our apartment to see where the water was. As we approached, we saw the water in the street and neighborhood, flashing lights from a constable was behind us and we looked around at the home right there on the edge, the boys playing in the water and the families outside with mixed expressions. It was about 4 in the afternoon, and I kind of wanted to leave, to get out. Worried about what could happen and how things would unfold.
Adam who is a bit more grounded and reasonable listed the reasons to stay and that we were safer, so we stayed. Despite anxiety about food reserves for me and medication concerns (thankfully nothing life threatening.). As my anxiety built up and I continued to remind myself that I was lucky, I was dry, I had power and at least I had rice and bone broth. I would get through.
However my heart still ached, still wanted to do something, to help. So what can I do right now? I have no skills for search and rescue, but I have a closet of clothes that can always be cleaned out, I have non-perishable food that I can’t eat that I haven’t given to a food drive yet, I have toothpaste and other toiletries that I buy in bulk. So I started cleaning out my stores and gathering things together. Because they will be needed for a long time.
That is thing with watching a natural disaster unfold in your home, you want to help right now. It is hard, but there are things I can do to help right now and more to come as this continues to unfold.
I can talk to my neighbors and ask how they are doing, ask how are their families are. Give them space to talk. I can check on my friends, and see what is going on. I can cry as both me and my friends await rescues. I can hold the door and help someone bring in their stuff, because they weren’t able to evacuate. I can smile and be calm standing in front of the grocery store that never opens. Saying a quick prayer for the employees.
We are all looking for ways to help right now, and there are plenty of ways to lend a hand. But this journey is just starting for some people, stay with the journey not just the first reaction to help during the crisis. My heart is breaking in both ways, this has brought the city together, brought neighbors together and reminded all of us that we are not alone on our journeys.