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It’s painful hearing the Stories and watching the images coming from Texas. It’s hard wrapping my mind around disasters of this size. The impact is astounding. Everything from the inconvenience of being without lights and water, to where can I find a diaper?  Where can I find food for my baby?

I saw one news clip that showed a convoy of trucks pulling boats to help with the search and rescue. But boats are only the first step in rendering help. Recovery from devastation of this size will take years – even decades.

The young folks in the cosmetology school at Bevill State swung into action. They sent out an appeal to the community. The items on the list included baby food, toothbrushes, razors, and other toiletries. In my bathroom vanity, there were several unopened oral hygiene kits from past visits to the dentist.  I put those in a bag with a few other things. I tried of things to send to someone who has nothing. When I handed the bag to the cosmetology instructor, it seemed so insignificant.

The eyes of the world are on Texas now. It warmed my heart when I read that Mexico had offered supplies and manpower to help with this epic event. There is a lot of contention between our countries right now. But it seems they are looking past politics and to the people in Texas that are hurting. Seeing that gave me hope.

Looking ahead, the area around Houston will get through this. It took New Orleans years of recovery after Hurricane Katrina soaked that city. But things change after destruction of this scale. Some people will leave and never return. Too many painful memories can make a place uninhabitable – the scars too deep. They’ll move on and start again somewhere else. 

The tornadoes that devastated Alabama on April 27, 2011, changed us too. Jilda and I were fortunate during that outbreak. We’d lost power earlier in the day, but we didn’t need a weatherman to tell us it was bad all around us. The sound of sirens echoed through the day and into the night. We lost trees and didn’t have power or phone service for days. But we still had a dry bed to sleep on and food in our cupboard. It felt petty to complain then. 

Driving through the Town of Sipsey today, you can still see the path of destruction. On the hillside overlooking the Warrior River are trees that look as if they have bouffant hairdos. Wind ripped the limbs and leaves off the few trees left standing. The next year all that came back on the trees was a little leafy cap on top.

Tragedy often brings out the best in people. The stories of heroism always put a lump in my throat making it hard to speak without my voice breaking. I’m seeing those stories emerge from Texas too.

My Facebook timeline is filled with people urging their friends to pray for Texas. I agree they need our prayers. But my mother-in-law Ruby used to say something that’s always stuck with me. “Praying is good, but you have to put wings on those prayers.”

The Salvation Army and many other agencies are all mounting relief efforts to help those in need. I smiled and thanked Ruby for her advice as I made our donation last night. 

A local church put up these markers for the nine people who died near where we live on April 27, 2011.

This post first appeared on Life 101, please read the originial post: here

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