By Robert Bradley
The tragedy of natural catastrophe we witness in the news is a stern warning to prepare and appreciate our bounty every day. Too clearly we have seen that generations of memories and the accumulation of centuries can be swept away … like water.
It is all so heart-rending.
Yet, far beyond the sadness of material loss is the trauma inflicted on the essence of community — her people. An entire forest of families is now scattered like the very wind that blew it all away. But all is not lost. It is in trying times like these that elegance, the pure simplicity of caring, is made manifest.
Houston, Texas can look to her deep multicultural roots, music, and the arts to find structure far more intrinsic than expanding high rises. Coastal communities in Florida can rekindle seafaring life and the hospitality industry with a commitment to sustainability and education. Visionary programs highlighting the diversity of these communities and their commitment to innovative practices to counter-balance environmental destruction will draw many visitors to their doors again.
Institutions will re-emerge, perhaps with a greater understanding of the importance of corporate responsibility and the well-being of the communities they are here to serve. Working in consort, fresh ideas will sprout new opportunities and innovation. Texas can become a leader in large-scale intelligent, forward thinking redevelopment, creating new jobs and services that protect and enhance a healthy and replenishing environment.
Seeds will be planted, crops will mature, a harvest is forthcoming. But until such time, our beloved country requires that we practice a most basic tenet of the founding fathers by embracing those most in need. These “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” in their own homeland need our help and support. We need to tap the generosity of our hearts and minds with renewed vigor to guarantee that all have access to attain, “To each his best effort; for each a just reward”.
The lessons of tragedy are both difficult and simple.
Greatness is found everywhere. Many hands make light loads. Commitment to celebration is a highest calling. Share. Have faith. Every place seeks to call their children home.
“ What I have learned is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion.”
—Chris Abani, Nigerian writer