Home > Life > Disaster, Rebuilding, and Kindness

Disaster, Rebuilding, and Kindness

Recent news stories have kept people nervous, exhilarated, and wary, etc. So much has been contained on the news wires in the past week that some people may be in news overload.

A few stories have directly affected all of us. Some affected only those within a specific area. The truth is that every story had impact. It’s the degree of impact that changed.

Here are the ones that affected Sister Jo and I.

Followers of our website, www.positive-at-tent-ion.webs.com/, know how much the weather has played a part in our trip and what we did on the road. As most know from recent reports, Tuscaloosa, AL was nearly wiped off the map by an F4 tornado this past week. Having lived in tornado alley most of my life in one location or another, the expression F4 strikes terror in a person’s heart.

Sister Jo and I enjoyed our transit through Alabama this past winter. We didn’t get to go as far north in that state as we would have like, but that doesn’t mean that we didn’t learn things about it as we stopped here and there in the state. The most important thing we learned, I suppose, is that the people of Alabama are a hardy group who travail.

My heart goes out to those survivors of weather madness. I cannot imagine beginning the task of rebuilding an entire city, one house at a time, especially in today’s economy. Without question, though, the people of that ravaged Tuscaloosa will do just that.

Back on March 5, the little Louisiana town of Rayne experienced its own tornado encounter. Mere weeks earlier, we had adopted that small town as an example of America’s pride of place. That “Frog Capitol of the World” will live on in our memories and our photos as the quaint, undisturbed town that displayed its giant frog mascot in front of the police station. That was before the sirens wailed and the funnel danced.

Even though only one woman lost her life in Rayne while she protected her baby, the residents’ attitude toward the damaged streets and buildings marked a precursor to that same stance of Tuscaloosa’s citizens.

Throughout the South storms have claimed many lives and millions of dollars in property. Flooding has taken over the central portion of the country. The repercussions of both conditions will hang around for a long while and will affect everyone eventually.

During our roaming months we’ve met so many Americans who epitomize the stereotype of “valiant American” that it sparks hope for continued reconstruction. Some examples of such citizens were in small towns that seem to have dried up in order to join the wind in its travels. Others were in cities where economic factors have challenged most with personal trials. Still others were in seemingly unaffected communities who were working to make conditions better for those less favored.

Throughout these many weeks we’ve come to have a healthier appreciation for the foundations of the American spirit. Seeing how those faced with disaster pull themselves up to begin again displays an example for all. It shows that any can fall or be felled by circumstance.

As a result, each of us has the opportunity to be either a part of the problem or of the solution.

Those survivors in Tuscaloosa struggle to find remains of their material lives scattered across the surrounding terrain. Their struggle worsens by having to deal with looters as well. The report on looting was lessened this morning by word that earthquake-tumbled Japan was sending blankets and other humanitarian aid to the city. The Japanese felt the need to help repay American kindnesses in the face of disaster born of nature.

That act of reciprocation reveals a vast truth. Kindness begets kindness. The wonder is that humans keep forgetting that truth.

On that note, a bientot, my friends,


  1. May 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Kindness begets kindness, indeed. You capture the strength in human nature that too often goes unreported. Disasters of late seem to bring out this strength, and the desire to help our neighbors … even in the midst of our own nightmare.

    Thanks for this, Clauds. Nice work.

    • claudsy
      May 4, 2011 at 10:41 pm

      Sometimes people really surprise us. In a world riddled with greed and self-interest, finding those who spend time and effort helping others always forsters hope.

      It would be marvelous if we could hear those stories of help, great and small, each day to offset the continuous parade of discouraging news.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Marie.

  2. May 30, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    I likeness by pole on your Internet site and I be required to vote that it my much and wonderful article to the passage.

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