In my one man effort to take on the wholesale industry of online negativity and pessimism, a few important things have thus far emerged. Firstly, if you want to find the good, you have to search for it and secondly, when you do find it – you will quickly be amazed as to how incredible we are as human beings.
The latter was reinforced to me as I read and listened to coverage of the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey. Aside from my shock at the scale of the destruction, a part of me wanted to say “Where the hell is the American government to come and help these people? It’s not like this hurricane suddenly showed up. Did they not learn anything from Hurricane Katrina?”
Then I stopped myself. I actually did! I decided to see how people were organising themselves, with or without the government to take care of their communities and neighbours. I know that at times like this, communities tend to pull together and in some cases, energies can be so focused on looking for a scapegoat, that the needs of the most vulnerable are forgotten.
After some looking around, remember – in order to find the good, you must search for it; I came across this touching story on USA Today website. It catalogues the story of several people affected by Hurricane Harvey. One stood out to me. A lady named, Nicole Hicks and her family had just been rescued from the devastation surrounding her. Remarkably, just 12 years earlier, she and her family were being rescued from Hurricane Katrina in eastern New Orleans. Having lost everything, it appears that they decided to relocate 350miles westwards to the state of Texas to start a new life.
“We had 12 feet of water in our house for Katrina,” she said, “We lost everything. Now we’re going through it again! I’ve done lost everything again.”
Her following stoic remarks just blew me away. “It’s hard,” she said. “I’m just trying to stay positive.”
Then there was the live unscripted on-screen rescue of an elderly couple by a crew of CNN journalists who were riding in Austin Seth’s boat, a Texan volunteer who was going around as part of the search and rescue effort. This man piloted his boat for over an hour, travelling from his Lake Jackson residence to Galveston County, in order to help others.
On hearing a cry for help, they turned round only to find a lady at the door of their rapidly submerging door with her elderly 86 year old father, according to the CNN report. In the video clip of the rescue, Austin can be seen jumping, chest deep in flood water, to the rescue of 86 year old Elmore before then helping to rescue his 83 year old wife. The CNN crew also put their filming gear down to help lift the frail evacuees into safety on the boat.
It really was a moving thing to see how helpless these people were and more so, how high up to the chest, the flood waters had gotten. Yet, it was the action of one man on his boat, an hour away from his home that possibly saved the lIves of Elmore, his wife and daughter from drowning.
While the news will likely remain about the massive devastation, billions of dollars lost, impact on oil output and other such realities; unless you look for it – you will not notice the equally remarkable levels of humanity, fantastic acts of kindness and the generous gestures demonstrated by people, ordinary people, who chose to forget about their own needs in order to save others amidst the terrible tragedies that imminently surrounded them. What’s more, the long road to recovery still awaits them in terms of their livelihoods, recovering lost prized possessions and re-uniting with displaced loved one, if they are yet alive.
The remarkable thing is however, this sort of thing happens every day in their innumerable amounts around our world. We only need look for the good, and it will be found – both within and around us. God Bless America.