In the middle of this global pandemic, political turmoil, the Capitol riots and general anxiety, I’d like to share excerpts of a letter from a friend, Rev. David Knight, who was an Episcopal priest in Long Beach, Miss., as hurricane Katrina swept away his church, his community, people’s lives and livelihoods, decimating the Gulf Coast:
“Do I talk about the woman who almost died in her home, water to her neck, neither she nor her daughter could swim, how a neighbor rescued them out of a window and lashed them inside a boat tied to a tree, where they watched it all play out, tornadoes and wind and water and prayed the tree held, watched her home and car wash away, knowing her story was just one story of so many JUST LIKE THAT. Do I talk about the friend in Hattiesburg who is a Chevy dealer who loaned me a pickup truck that I would fill up with supplies and drive around to all the tent "villages," especially in the Bay, and hand out what I had and money if I had it, too, and then go back for more supplies and do it all over again. What a gift that truck proved to be, just in the nick of time. So much came to us just in the nick of time, over and over again God provided, in the triple digit heat and the dust and the great despair, God kept showing up, looking different every time, but present and there always. Always.”
So today as we struggle with a storm of disasters taking a very different shape, but nevertheless sweeping away livelihoods and lifestyles and testing our national identity, I remember David’s experience of God’s presence in the chaos as we do our best to care for our own communities, families and friends.
Zara Renander, an Episcopalian, is Chaplain to Hospice of Missoula. She can can be reached at 406-543-4408 or email@example.com.