Harvey, Houston, Heartbreak and Helping

Every time I have heard the topic of Hurricane Harvey come up, people will say what is happening in Houston is sad and heartbreaking. People will then quickly follow that with there is nothing I can do or completely end the conversation altogether. I have done this, I failed to raise my hand to say actually that is not true. I may a little late but actually that is not true. There is something we can do, we can stop acting like it is someone else’s problem. It is not someone else’s problem because as long as we inhabit this earth it is our problem as well. Why? Because there is no such thing as other people’s children. There is no such thing as OTHER.

It is easy to believe Houston is far away because geographically it may be. But other than the fact that Texas is far in distance, there is no good reason to separate ourselves from what is happening there. It is our problem. The people in Houston need as much help as they can get. And here is something people fail to understand as true, you can help and your help can make a difference. You can help by not turning away from the subject and pretending it isn’t your problem. You can help by praying or sending positive thoughts. You can help by donating money. It doesn’t matter how much money you donate because even a little bit helps.

There is this belief in our society that no one person can save the world and because this is believed to be true what one person does not make a difference. That is NOT true. Yeah, donating money to the people in Houston does not make the problem go away but it does help. It is no one person’s job to save the world, it is all of our’s. If we all help, Huston will come back faster and stronger than if we all turned and looked the other way.

The problem with turning away is not that the people in Houston will suffer, although that is a problem, it is that we will continue to turn away from the next problem. Our country is not doing too well right now, whether it is something to do with politics or a natural disaster like this hurricane, we need people turning towards the problems of our country and our world instead of away from them.

I generally turn away because I buy into the belief that my small contributions won’t mean much. But what if everyone believed that? Some people must not believe it because there are tons of people who are helping the people of Houston right now. It is not about helping to solve a problem and eradicate it for good, it is about helping to help. It is about helping just a bit because whatever you have to offer will help the situation.

I have made the decision to stop turning away from what breaks my heart. What is happening in Houston is heartbreaking, what happened in Charlottesville is heartbreaking. The lesson I learned in the wake of Charlottesville is that we have to help NOW, we have to say something NOW. I recently watched a Glennon Doyle interview and she was talking about her activism. She said, “But what if the best indicator of how we would’ve shown up during those moments is how we’re showing up in this moment, in this civil rights moment?” She was talking about all those past moments in history that we all like to shy away from discussing; slavery, the Holocaust, the Civil Rights movement. We all would like to think we would have raised our hands then and spoke out against what was going on. But Glennon is right, the best indicator of whether we would have done anything back then is whether we are doing anything right now.

I know what is happening in Houston isn’t a civil rights issue, I know it is a natural disaster. But if people are involved who need help then it is a human issue. I also believe if we don’t show up for this, if we don’t do something about this, something that happened beyond our control, why would we ever help or speak out about something in our control? If we can’t help people who did nothing to deserve this, why would we ever try to help people suffering from human-created issues?

After Charlottesville, I kept seeing everywhere this following statement: white silence is just as bad as white supremacy. I turned away because I knew it was true. Silence is just as bad as whatever bad thing is happening. Silence is bad when you know what is being said is wrong or what is happening is heartbreaking. Silence is turning away from the problem when you should turn directly towards it and help our country take it on. A hurricane isn’t a political issue but how we handle this is an indicator of how we will handle whatever comes next for our country. Whether we show up now for this will determine if we show up for the next thing. Because our country is struggling the next thing is around the corner which is why we need to start speaking up now, in this tragedy, so we can conquer the next tragedy more united then we are right now.  

There will always be others who take on the issues of the world because it is their job or because it is their passion. We can let these people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders or we can help them. Because there is no such thing as OTHER. We are all the same because we are all human. We may someday in a position similar to the people of Houston. We would want everyone to help, we would want everyone to show up, no matter how small their contribution, we would want our problem to be acknowledged as everyone’s problem. Simply because it is. We are all in this together because we belong to each other. This is our country and this is our world and the fate of it is in our hands, every single one of us. So, we can turn away because it is easy. Or we can turn towards this and start making our country and our world better for everyone.

As a closing note, if you agree with me, great. If you want to share your opinion on why you agree with me, also great. But please consider doing something. Here are the two organizations I donated to who are helping Houston right now. This organization is raising money and then donating new underwear to people in shelters – link to organization https://www.undiesforeveryone.org and link to donate https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/uFpr61ITEItxPeN4Lo9zpA. And this organization is raising money for the Houston Food Bank and they will match your donations – link to organization  https://togetherrising.org and link to donate https://app.mobilecause.com/form/xVzQ0A.

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