Saturday, November 14, 2015

Seeing the good

Bad news seems to bombard us every day. And, sometimes it's hard to see the good in the world. The sensationalistic media is eager to get us worked up--to make us angry or afraid or outraged or entertained--but it rarely takes the time to report on the helpers and the givers and the positive outcomes. But, this good is real. Maybe even more real than the bad. These are the stories we need to hear, so we can be encouraged and challenged and blessed. These are the stories that renew our faith in humanity and in God. They are the stories that give us hope and propel us forward. I have one that hits close to home that I'd like to share:

Two weeks ago, my sister's house was hit by a tornado. She and two of her kids were inside at the time. They took cover in the pantry, and even though a portion of the roof was relieved of its duties and the house moved off its foundation three feet side to side and 18 inches front to back, she and the kids thankfully came out without a scratch. The insurance adjusters declared everything a total loss and promised full insurance payments.

Friends and family and a few strangers immediately came to their aid. People worked around the clock taking care of their kids, bringing them food and water, wading knee-deep in mud and debris to salvage anything that could be salvaged, taking clothing and dishes to their homes to wash and store, taking in their horses and dogs (which all made it through the storm), offering them rent-free places to live until they could get another place, and loving on them in lots of other tangible and intangible ways.

My brother-in-law works for a construction company, and the company donated the use of an excavator, a bobcat, two 18-wheeler dump trucks, and two drivers for the trucks. Chad (my BIL) was able to do most of the demolition work himself, beginning the very next day. Combined with the generous donations from the company, this allowed he and my sister to save about $10,000 in demo costs, and they are weeks or months ahead of many of their neighbors who also sustained damage to their properties.

Jodi's glasses and contacts were lost during the storm, and her eye doctor gave her replacements for free. The students at a rival high school raised a significant amount of money for Hailey (Jodi and Chad's oldest daughter, who lives with them and was in the house when the tornado hit). And, the daycare my nephew attends gave him a $100 gift card.

Ultimately, they were able to recover about 85% of their possessions. And after they had sifted through everything, they unselfishly offered some of their own salvaged possessions to neighbors who were hit harder and lost more. My sister and her family are currently living in a rental house and are making plans to rebuild.

This story has a happy ending. But even in tragedies more significant than this, there are opportunities to see the good, if you're willing to look. Sometimes it's in the midst of tragedy that we find the most faith, hope, and love. Sometimes, that's when we find the really good people. Or become them. Sometimes, that's when we see the most blessings, because that's when we know exactly how much we have to be thankful for.

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