Being a Good Neighbor
By Ana Borden
One of the many places we evacuated to the first six weeks following Hurricane Katrina was Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Words will never express the emotions following the days and weeks following the devastation when hope seemed to cease.
After many anxious days and sleepless nights, an invitation came through on one of the news broadcasts, “Dolly Parton is inviting all impacted by Katrina to spend a day at Dollywood.”
I was hesitant, but the consensus was to step away from our current reality – an emotional relief I did not realize I needed. Accepting help, much less charity, is not one of my strengths, but that day I realized that I needed to be on the receiving side to see God’s goodness in a time of despair and uncertainty.
It was a bright memory in a hopeless life moment where a simple invitation brought hope and reassurance of tomorrow. Months afterwards, when we were finally back home, I personally called Dollywood’s office to thank them again for their generosity and hospitality and recall this act of kindness every Katrina anniversary.
Unfortunately, our southwest Louisiana neighbors are experiencing devastation again with Hurricane Laura, but we witness God’s presence when we see neighboring local businesses opening their doors and providing generosity and hope during a life moment filled with uncertainty and loss.
Among them are the Blanchers, the owners of Rock ‘N’ Bowl, and who were also my Come Lord Jesus leaders while I was a Mount Carmel Academy student. They are an example of neighbors who offered and opened their doors one evening to complimentary bowling for evacuees and their families.
All it takes is a simple invitation to restore hope and feel God’s presence in what feels like a hopeless time.
How have you felt God’s presence in someone’s generosity during a time of loss?