Storm Passes, but Suffering Persists

by | Sep 20, 2018

Love is patient, love is kind. . . . it bears all things . . . endures all things.
I Corinthians 13:4-7

Sometimes a headline can say it all: Storm passes, but suffering persists. (The Washington Post, September 19, 2018)

Most in our region were spared the effects of Hurricane Florence, a reality over which we had no control, but nonetheless allows us to carry on with our lives largely uninterrupted. Meanwhile, though the storm has passed through the Carolinas and Virginia, great suffering remains.

Those well acquainted with the large scale humanitarian crisis tell us that in the midst of the storm and the days that follow, a great spirit of solidarity and compassion carries people through and, for a time, we are all at our very best as a species. But that spirit, like the storm, also passes, leaving behind a mood of desolation and all the emotions that come with sustained trauma.  

That is when long-term relationships, sustained commitment, and a willingness to care after the cameras are gone make their transformational difference. It’s when the church can be the church, not only for its members, but for all in her community. Through Episcopal Relief and Development, as well as our personal relationships, we are part of the long-term healing process, not only in the Carolinas and Virginia, but around the world. If ever you doubt that such sustained caring matters, simply ask those who would otherwise feel most alone.

There are many ways, for all of us, that storms pass and suffering remains. We all carry the scars of past storms; the healing process takes time. Chances are that few people know what suffering you carry in your heart, and you and I never really know what another person is still living with as a result of past storms.

Thus a good posture every day, with whomever we encounter, is one of kindness. When we take the time, before jumping in to whatever business is at hand, to ask, “How are you doing?” with real desire to hear the answer, someone’s heart may open up to us, for just a moment. In that moment, often without awareness, we can be like the Balm of Gilead, and shelter in another’s storm.