Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
For everything there is a season. After hurricane Sandy there will be a time of rebuilding, for sure, but that is not now.
Politicians love to give teary and stoic pledges to rebuild bigger and better after a disaster and this resonates with some people, it is a profoundly human reaction, but I don't mean that in a good way.
Now is not the time for gnat-like bravado in the face of giant nature. Now is the time to help one another.
I live up on a hill 270 ft above and about 2.5 miles from the Atlantic Ocean on Long Island. From the corner of my street we have the most amazing view of Fire Island and the ocean.
I have often marveled at the view looking out and seeing all the houses that dot Fire Island. I walked to the corner yesterday and looked and there was nothing. No houses, and even no discernible Fire Island. There are reports of many houses being gobbled up by the ocean and Fire Island itself has been breached in several places and may never be the same as will the people who lived there.
I know countless people who could not make it into work today because there houses were damaged or destroyed by storm surge flooding. On the street on which I work down by the shore, at business after business I could see owners with pumps and fans trying to get the water out of the places which provide their livelihood. As I passed by this morning I received a number of resigned waves.
Right now, people are suffering. People are in need. Some have lost lives. For their souls and families I pray. Some have lost everything else. Again I pray.
Now is the time for kindness, not bravado. The kindness that leads somebody to take in another family that has lost everything. The kind of kindness that led a neighbor of mine to run an extension cord from his generator over to his powerless neighbor during the storm because he knew her police officer husband would be gone for a while.
Now is the time for simpler kindness like allowing a neighbor without power to take a hot shower in your house. Now is the time for sharing.
For the wise events like hurricanes do not inspire vain bravado, wisdom inspires humility. Humility is the knowledge that it could have been you or your house and there was nothing you could do to stop it. Wisdom is the humility to help those in need for no other reason than they need help. I see that wisdom on the faces of my neighbors and friends today.
There will be a time to rebuild as we must, but always with the knowledge that whatever we build has an expiration date, everything with one exception. God lets us keep the kindness.