10.23.2020 The sirens blared on my street at 5:45 am. At least four companies were being called in to the fire that would ravage an apartment complex in my town last week. Forty-one people were displaced from their homes. Their belongings were all gone. And in the middle of the stress of covid, they had another nightmare to face. One from which they would not awaken.
In the midst of this collective grieving, only a few short weeks from a presidential election, a beautiful thing happened. The following morning, a local coffee/sandwich shop opened its back room for donations to help the displaced people start over. Clothing, cooking gear, furniture, toys, it was all being brought in by carloads. People in masks, some with children in tow, carried boxes, bags and individual items into that back room. And then it was full.
So a local church and other businesses opened their doors for collections. And people brought gift cards and bedding and towels and jeans, filling the rooms.
And a beautiful thing happened. Nobody stopped to ask if any of the forty-one people were going to vote Republican. Nobody with donations was turned away because they wore “Vote Blue” t-shirts. Nobody engaged in bullying, mud-slinging, name-calling, fact-checking. Nobody asked if any of the forty-one were People of Color, or immigrants or police officers.
We were all just human beings, helping one another along the bumpy and windy road called ‘life.’ We weren’t divided. Not by race, by political party, by occupation, by religion, by age, by ability, by education, by nationality. We were a community, unified with the values we once cherished – helping our fellow humans no matter what.
I pray for the displaced people, that they find help whenever they need it. I pray for all of us, that we may cling to that core of loving kindness.