Kindness during the storm

Everyone goes through a hard time. It can be a metaphoric storm, a very real tailspin of nothing seems to go right, or a literal storm like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

I’m part of the Southeast United States bracing for the horrors of Irma. The projections are still projections, with any number of possible outcomes. We just know something bad is heading our way.

It’s hard to know how to react in these circumstances. You can get stuck just thinking about yourself and your family. You do have a responsibility to care for those who depend on you: immediate family members, in-laws, fur babies.

But there’s a way to handle it. Of not being completely selfish in the process. Of not taking advantage of the situation.

I saw on Facebook, posted on Love What Matters, how a woman in Central Florida went to a Lowe’s store to buy a generator because her father is on oxygen and needs electricity to survive. The store was out, and she was in a panic. And then a total stranger insisted she take the one he was going to buy.

We have the ability to be ruthless, or to show compassion. To seek our own needs, or to help others in the process. To recognize a want for ourselves versus an absolute necessity for others. We have tremendous power to do good.

And I know for myself, when tragedy hits, I feel at a loss of words. Because I struggle with what to say verbally, questioning how it sounds, how it will be interpreted, etc. But you don’t always need words.

I was reminded of this earlier in the week when watching my guinea pigs. A friend had given me a hammock that I could set up in their cage. Martha and Nutmeg have used it before and properly. But Martha likes being hidden, she loves to burrow. So, she started going underneath the hammock and camping out there.

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Hey, she’s using it right?

Sometimes during a personal storm, you want to hide. You may long for those childhood days of building forts, a time when you could literally hide under the covers and pillows and mounds of blankets. You may not want to be around other people, but it’s nice to know that someone else cares. That someone else is thinking about you.

And that’s when I spotted Nutmeg. She decided to sit near the hammock, near where Martha was hiding.

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You don’t always have to use words to show you care. Be available. Be present. Help with errands. Offer to pick up groceries.

Just don’t get stuck thinking the words have to be perfect. The simplest thing is often all you need.

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