I've been thinking about water lately.
I guess that's not surprising, given that I've been on the panhandle of Florida helping my mother in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The impact of the hurricane is devastating. My hometown of Lynn Haven is just obliterated, with the mayor reporting 80% of the homes destroyed or completely uninhabitable. My mother lived in Lynn Haven, and although she has an unlivable home - it can be repaired. That's not true for so many people in the area.
Thanks to the generosity of Christ Episcopal Church in Lake Oswego, OR, I had over $2,000 in medicine and supplies. I spent a few days helping my mother and the people in her neighborhood with water, ice, food, basic medical care and home care supplies. I traveled around to other parts of the county - and, the devastation is speechless. It's horrible . . . and, the massive outpouring of support was awe inspiring.
From a dentist I befriended who started a makeshift emergency reposes area in the parking lot of his destroyed clinic, to a group of churches that banned together to serve 10,000 meals a day on borrowed BBQ grills - what I witnessed over and over was an amazing community.
I witnessed people caring for one another in deeply compassionate and connected ways. It was inspiring to know that during times of deep struggle and tremendous strain - people truly come together. And, this was especially true in watching (and participating) in water distribution and ice distribution. Water, a precious resource, made even more important in the wake of Hurricane Michael as the temperatures on the panhandle have been unseasonable hot (it was 97 degrees in my mother's house) was a way for people to connect and care for one another.
The devastation in Bay County is unreal. Unimaginable. It will take time for the trauma and wounds to heal. And, the people of the panhandle are resilient. They will recover. They will rebuild. They will continue to band together to show one another deep compassion.
I learned so much over the past few days. I learned about the power of people. It was truly inspiring. Please keep the panhandle of Florida in your thoughts and donate to disaster response efforts.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.