October was a heavy duty month in more ways than one. Many of us had to leave our homes not knowing what condition it would be in when we returned. Would we have to throw away all the food we bought in case the electricity went off? Would there be water in the house or neighborhood? Would there be looting going on?
We went to Georgia for 5 days and upon our return, we were blessed to have no flooding, no electricity loss and nothing missing. Some debris here and there but not as bad as some friends and acquaintances who had heavy water and home damage. Some folks had loss of a loved one that week and compounded with the loss of one's home - it weighed heavily upon them. My motto those weeks was "You never know what a friend, neighbor or stranger has to endure in their heart". I thought of that when someone tried to cut in front of me driving or got impatient in the store line or was just downright grouchy. Everyone got more patience and caring from me in return. I try to bring it along now that things are somewhat more normal. But it's not for all of us.
Our church's school had flooding which disrupted the regular schedules and locations. Our many church ministries also were disrupted - some of which were difficult to relocate due to changing of the regular schedules and locations.
They say there is always 'some good that comes out of something bad' - sometimes it's hard to look for it and sometimes it is just apparent.
Concentrating on what should we take and what should we leave including ourselves - I didn't listen to or miss all the election and political landscapes - it seems civility and good old manners were absent from our everyday routines; until Florence came into town.
Although stress is high from leaving your home, it was negated by the camaraderie and caring of others on the road, in restaurants and hotels. We saw familiar faces , shared our experiences and learned from others of their experiences.
Back at home five days later we saw firsthand the good over the bad. Many of our weekly-held ministries had to rearranged due to space and manpower. The church communities in our area came to our rescue by offering their space and accommodations. God is alive in North and South Carolina. No church functions were cancelled, ministries continued and new friendships were formed. Some of the ministries - held weekly - continued and didn't miss even one - much to the relief of the participants involved. The space-giving church staffs treated us as members offering to help and/or just by sharing their spaces and hospitality. The churches in our area do help one another - it doesn't matter what denomination we or they are - they are practicing the Commandment "Love Thy Neighbor". It was a welcome feeling through a bad situation and the feeling magnifies and goes forward.
One can only hope that good neighbors & situations continues not only here but in all of America. It is said that our country comes together closer in times of distress. Let's pray that our country leaves behind the nastiness, fighting and disarray of our political system. We need to love our neighbors as we do ourselves - we can do it even with distress, problems or hurricanes . Caring and loving is all around us if we only seek it out. And it multiplies. And can change our culture.