Who is My Neighbor?
by Carol Sokolsky
The flooding is unprecedented; the anguish on faces brings me to tears. People like me, normal, everyday neighbors, fleeing their homes… their lives… everything that they have worked for, some for their entire lives. It’s not a third world country. It’s Houston. How can it be?
I made a salad for dinner tonight. Cut up various veggies and even some fruit, and covered it with olives and wasabi peas. I’m strange, but I love a great salad! I sat down to eat it in front of the news and all I saw was pain. Intense fear… neighbors not knowing where they will go or if their family members and pets are ok. The tears fell, the guilt entered as I tried to eat my salad with the sunshine coming through my window. Why am I so blessed tonight when so many in the Houston area are homeless, confused, scared, and separated from people they love?
Just a few days ago, Houston neighborhoods were like mine—normal. Doing normal daily things… working, taking kids to school, getting groceries, hosting parties, exercising, just doing what they do. Normal.
Not tonight. Tonight, worlds are turned upside down. Water is the enemy, and an enemy like we’ve never had to fight before. Sneaky enemy, deadly enemy, with no bias to race, gender, political party, religion. None. The water is totally neighbor agnostic. The water doesn’t care where you live or what you do for a living. Tonight in Houston, there is no preference to the uber rich or those in ultimate poverty. Both need help and both are fighting for their very lives.
The magnitude of it all is just crushing my soul as I watch, feeling so helpless tonight as so many are risking their lives to help their neighbors. People they don’t know. Strangers that all of a sudden have become family. No one cares if the boat rescuers are democrat or republican when all they need is to be saved. And I am sure that no one has turned down the life-saving boat because of the color of skin or the gender of the driver. Tonight, no one cares. Everyone needs to be saved from certain death.
As I sit here, trying to wrap my head around what my eyes are seeing on TV, I’m trying to put myself in the position of thousands of people in Houston that have had their lives turned completely upside down in the last 24 hours. And I just can’t. Can’t. I cannot even fathom fleeing for my life with nothing but the clothes on my back. And yet tonight, people like me, my next-state neighbors, are screaming for help and fleeing their homes in the 4th largest city in the United States. Please, dear Lord, protect these precious people.
Neighbors with boats, first responders, National Guard, anyone who can help is helping… saving anyone who is crying out for help. Goodness abounds tonight. Grace is being shown. Good Samaritans picking up anyone they can find, often from the air, without asking any pre-qualifying questions. Just pulling them out of the water, out of danger, and taking them to safety.
We are all in need of being saved from certain death. Tonight, I am so thankful that Jesus didn’t care about my state when he rescued me. He heard my cries for help and immediately drew me into his boat and gave me life forever. As I think of the parallels of how God saves anyone who will accept his gift, with the good samaritans in Houston who are saving everyone they find crying out for help, I realize that everyone is my neighbor. My neighbors need to know that Jesus will save anyone who will just accept his gift of eternal life.
I wish I could fill my car with diapers and water and blankets and food and drive to Houston, but, of course, I couldn’t get there anyhow. But I can pray specifically for these precious souls. What a mission field is represented in Houston tonight. Yes, a place to show love to people who need to feel loved tonight, to those who feel so alone and forgotten. And I pray that eyes will be opened to who Jesus is, and just say yes to the boat that will pull them into safety for eternity.
Please join me in prayer for the people in Houston, for each person fighting this war of water and rescuing people who will, otherwise, die. And please give from your heart to those who have nothing. From the Red Cross to endeavors that are filling trucks with supplies. Please just give. Give till it hurts, because tonight, if I lost everything I own, there would be no greater grace shown to me than someone giving out of love—someone I’ll never meet—just to show me the love of Jesus. If you can find it in your heart, as part of the918, to please help our neighbors in Texas… because they are in for the fight of their lives… while we go on with ours in the beautiful Tulsa sunshine.
Carol Sokolsky is passionate about being the best she can be… in whatever place God plants her. She is blessed with an incredible family, including her bonus family that she considers her own. Carol is a regular contributing writer for the918, loves to share life with her readers, and truly enjoys the feedback she receives. If you want to connect with Carol, you can find her on Facebook as Carol Sprunger Sokolsky, and on Instagram as @Sokocarden. She’d love to hear your story and how the918 has made a difference. email@example.com.
Great article which reflects my thoughts & feelings! We can always pray.