Disaster, tragedy and devastation can bring the worst out in people. Here in South Carolina, the floods have brought out the best in people. Just as with other natural disasters or man-made tragedies, neighbors near and far came together to help each other.
We forgot what divided us and what made us different. We forgot why we didn’t like the neighbor next door or our co-worker. We forgot that the guy whose house was filled with floodwater is a Clemson graduate or a South Carolina graduate. We forgot about the unimportant things; we even saw past skin color. We remembered one thing: that we are all human beings going through the same tragedy.
We watched the news and shared on social media. We gave blood or helped find shelter. We gave information about where to get bottled water. And we prayed. We even stopped complaining about politicians for a minute. We waved hello to the power company van and told the phone company technician thank you.
During natural disasters, we find our greater selves. We rise up to be and do what is meaningful. We let first responders know about the elderly neighbor who may be trapped in her house — the same neighbor we called nosy last week.
The rain has subsided, and the sun is shining bright again. And we have a new challenge — to continue to get things done without tragedy or natural disasters.
At times like this, John Lennon’s song “Imagine” always plays in my head. Ultimately, if we seek to remember what makes us similar and not focus on our differences, we will be better for it.
Let’s not merely imagine unity. Let’s stand together and keep it going now that the sun has come out.
Joyce M. Rose-Harris