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20 Seconds...

Posted: September 15, 2017

I heard a report on MPR about one of the individuals who was caught in the rising waters flooding Houston. He thought he had a couple of weeks to prepare to evacuate. The water rose so quickly that the rescuers gave him 20 seconds to leave his home. As I have watched the devastation around the country with the hurricanes in Texas, Florida and surrounding states this story has stood out in my mind.

Sometimes I think I have so much time to do all of the things I want to do. The truth is we don’t have an endless amount of time. We have witnessed lives changed in seconds. What took people a lifetime to build was destroyed with epic 150 mile an hour winds, ranging waters unwilling to relent in their paths of destruction…

Homes have been crushed like match sticks, islands in the Caribbean have been changed beyond recognition. Idyllic landscapes covered in grassy knolls with beautiful beaches are now in ruins. Families and lives are forever changed…

These terrible events remind us that we do not have control over all of the events in our lives. The best laid plans can be changed in a moment. What is it that it really matters if our lives are boiled down to seconds? What choices would we make? Would we do things differently? What could we hold on to?

What has become so clear from all of this destruction is that we need each other. Rescue workers, police officers, first responders, utility crews have risked their lives to save people and to rebuild critical infrastructure. Strangers have opened their homes to shelter those in need. Distant relatives have provided refuge for family. Churches, schools and government agencies are sheltering those who have lost everything.

People from around the country have offered their help. Some have driven into these ravaged areas to volunteer. People have sent donations and supplies. These tragedies have galvanized the nation’s compassion and generosity. The response has been quick. Sometimes seconds matter.

--Maura Schnorbach