Can I be honest for a second? I don’t know how to start writing this.
There are no words on this earth to adequately express how devastated I am for the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. As I sit at my kitchen table, in my home with my children safely in their beds, how can I even begin to transform a blinking curser into anything that comes close to representing the pain, loss and fear that people in Texas are feeling right now?
The news reports come in and I am overwhelmed by heartache. It is the familiar pangs I feel every time something catestrophic happens in our world—and right now it seems to be happening a lot. Charlottesville, Syria, Orlando... I could go on and on.
While I feel for everyone involved, it’s always thoughts of the mothers who make me weep. I have three children. They are my pulse and my oxygen. The very idea of them being in any kind of danger makes me sick to my stomach. Yet that is the reality so many moms in Texas, and across the world, are facing.
To those moms, for what it’s worth, I have a message for you—
You are not alone
I cannot imagine what you must be feeling right now, staring up at the night sky wondering “Why did this happen?” and “How are we going to make it?” I can’t imagine it, but I want you to know that I am staring at the same sky thinking about you—and so are moms across the world. We have not forgotten you. We promise that we won’t.
You are so strong
A disaster like this can make you feel powerless, I know. But you need to remember how amazingly tough you really are. You possess profound strength that is unrivaled by any other force on this earth—you are a mom.
You are important
Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your children, family and community will be forever impacted by the way you make them feel. In the absence of resources, stability and answers, your love will be the guiding light that gets them through this, and makes them stronger on the other side. Your love moves mountains, mama.
And to everyone who is watching the news
We need to act. We can’t let the logistics of distance or feelings of helplessness stop us from trying to do something. Yes, you and I are just individual people but that doesn’t mean we can’t get to work and try.
We all have a super power. Are you an artist? A teacher? Do you have a green thumb? Are you great with animals? Do you know how to build things? Are you a nurse? Are you great with kids? Do you love to bake? Are you an athlete?
Find your super power, harness it and use it to help.
Afraid your thing won’t really affect the world? Let me remind you about the butterfly theory; it states that under the right conditions, a tiny butterfly flapping its wings can cause a storm on the other side of the world. This can be a beautiful, worthy form of chaos: chaotic love, chaotic creativity, chaotic goodness.
Be the chaos that changes the world.
When it all feels like too much, remember the words of our childhood hero, Mr. Rogers:
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world.