I’m sitting in my home along the SE US coast, waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pay us a visit. Am I worried? Not particularly, though I did feel a strong sense that we needed to do more to prepare for this storm than we typically do for others. We’re prepared to this point, though we’ll have a bit more to do come Thursday and Friday. Worst case scenario, we pack the kids and the cats into two cars and head west; the cars are fueled sufficiently.
This morning as the girls and I tracked the storm, we saw that some people weren’t so lucky. As we pulled up the tracking map online, we saw that at that moment, the storm was right over Haiti and eastern Cuba, with a course dead-straight to the Bahamas. While this is devastating for all these island peoples in the Caribbean, our hearts really went out to the Haitians. It’s like they can’t catch a break!
So we prayed. Then H, my seven-year-old who’s diligently saving up for a pink sparkly boat about the size of a massive cruise ship, started outlining her plan for rescuing people in such situations. This plan involves using her boat to take them to safety on her own private island, complete with three hospitals, just to make sure everyone gets the care they need. (I guess she’d need more than one island, so she’d have options depending on which direction the storms are going.)
As the pink sparkly boat is still quite a ways off, H spontaneously thought about what she could do now. Her solution? She wants to donate some of her shoes and clothes to children in Haiti who’ll lose everything in this storm. I immediately grabbed my phone and texted the children’s minister at church, asking if there’s any reception for those sorts of donations. No, but there are organizations, like Hope Changes Everything, who already have boots on the ground and need money to supply the Haitians with exactly what they need, be it clothes, food, or housing. (That link will take you right to their site, and you can donate there.)
Our minister suggested a yard sale. Truthfully, I don’t relish the idea of putting together a yard sale, but the weather will be good again, and there are a lot of things we can get rid of for this cause. While I don’t look forward to the work and administration of doing this, I’m excited, because this is something H can lead off on.
I am understandably so proud of my daughter for having a heart that wants to reach out to people who have been so devastated by this storm. More, though, is how she’s overcoming her own fears of the storm in thinking about others. All morning, we talked together about what we need to do to make sure our home and property are ready for the storm. I presented it as, “We need to be prepared, but we’re gonna be OK. Worrying won’t change the storm at all.” Still, though… She is seven, and she’s not so thrilled with regular ol’ thunderstorms, let alone a hurricane due for a direct hit. Once she started thinking about how to help others, she forgot to be afraid.
H is such a good teacher, even reminding her pastor momma about some truths that are easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of daily life.
- We need a change in perspective sometimes. Things look challenging for us this coming weekend, but they’re much worse for thousands upon thousands of other people who have no evacuation routes and limited resources.
- When we’re afraid, it helps to think about others and become unafraid. I find it also helps remembering who controls the storm.
- What we have can be used to serve other people. This girl has plans for her life, plans that involve a good deal of education and helping vulnerable creatures. Yet, her heart remains for people and desiring to help them.
The Bible tells us so many things about children. “A little child shall lead them.” “You must have the faith of a child.” And the Psalmist writes, “From the lips of infants and children, You have ordained praise.” We oh, so busy adults need to stop sometimes and listen. The still small voice of God I’m hearing this week isn’t coming from a gentle breath of wind, but from the lips of a little girl.