Our country has witnessed two devastating hurricanes in a very short period of time. First there was Harvey in Texas, and then Irma which affected the whole state of Florida. The media often focused on the effects these had on property and loss of life, the negative. But the one positive thing, even they noticed, was the ultimate goodness which lies in people. Many were not just good Samaritans who took people in and sheltered and fed them. They went further and risked their lives to save another. Our Lord teaches us this is the greatest love of all.
This phenomena happens each time there is a direct threat to us. Sixteen years ago on September 11, 2001, evil men tried to destroy our resolve as a nation. They did not realize we are at our best when under attack, whether it be manmade destruction or a natural occurring disaster. We came together as a nation and for a short time found the best within us.
Can we be the same people who try to tear each other apart because of our differences, and then turn around and risk our lives to save each other? The answer, I believe, is a resounding “YES!” It is all in how we perceive each other and ourselves.
Jesus said (Matt 6:22-23) “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”
This statement can be interpreted differently by people depending on how it is perceived by the reader. For purposes of my discussion, the scripture is interpreted by me to be Jesus teaching us that our perception (how we view our circumstances, ourselves or each other ) determines how we feel, act, and respond in any situation. If we see clearly, it affects our hearts and brings out the true goodness of our nature. If we perceive darkness, we project darkness.
When a hurricane comes with all its fury into our lives, whether it be literally or figuratively through another of life’s disasters, we can choose our perception and therefore choose to be a force of light or darkness. A storm of that magnitude comes with its own “eye,” which is the center, and in there lies a time of calm before the worst passes over. We have time to reflect, pray, and hope we have prepared to withstand the onslaught which faces us.
Which reminds me of another story about Jesus and his disciples in the boat in a storm. He is asleep and the disciples wake him in the middle of the worst of their experience, and ask him how he can sleep when they are about to drown. Their perception is that they are in grave danger. His perception, of course, is not the same. He simply rebukes the wind and the waves, they become calm, and he says, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
If they had realized, at that time, that Jesus was the son of God, most likely they would not have awakened him. It was all in their perception of what was happening and who they were with.
Every day brings several opportunities which test our perception of our world and our life. Being human we will fail many times to see the light in a situation but I believe the responses of the Texans and Floridians proves when the greatest uncertainties befall us we can suddenly see clearly what matters. We can see, feel, and display our love for each other because it is the best part of who we are.