How Can you Love Your Neighbor?

By Ty Salvant

During the hurricane, I found it relatively easy to not be overly concerned about what would happen. I knew I had no control over it, and that God would provide the grace needed to move forward regardless of the amount of damage sustained. The uncertainty of the state of our house while we were away was a little troublesome, but not overwhelmingly so. Initially, I thought I was unscathed by this event that was traumatic for many.

However, upon returning home, it hit me. I found myself in a fog. The aftermath of a hurricane is physically, mentally and emotionally draining, regardless of the amount of damage. I am waiting on adjusters, vetting contractors, dealing with long lines, food shortages and debris collection in addition to living life.

For weeks, it was hard to get motivated to do much more than what was absolutely necessary. Having four kids at home, there’s still a bit of necessary work, but I found myself doing the bare minimum each day. As often as I tried to push through and do more, I could not.

Over and over, I have found that doing what’s counterintuitive helps in most situations. I struggled with accomplishing tasks, so I looked for an opportunity for my family to volunteer to help those in need. Cognizant that we are still in a pandemic, I found an outlet safe for my family, and we were able to help neighbors impacted by the storm. That one shift didn’t make all of my concerns go away, but it did allow us to positively impact the lives of others. That brought a sense of fulfillment and joy that I had not felt in a while. In turn, that step made it easier to take another step the following day.

By giving myself the grace that I easily gave to others, I was able to begin to heal from this traumatic event. I modeled self-care to my inner circle. I encourage you to be gentle with yourself during this time. Acknowledge that you have experienced a traumatic event, even if your house was not damaged.

Seeing others in pain and suffering from a natural disaster can be a trigger. Donate or volunteer what you can where you can. Add an extra prayer for yourself and someone in the midst of this chaos. Spend an extra hour in adoration for those who cannot go now. Say one more rosary for those directly and indirectly impacted by the hurricane. There are multiple drives for clothing, household and baby care items, in addition to groups gutting houses or feeding people. There is no shortage of opportunities to come together and love your neighbor.

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