One South La Man Buries His Storm Anxiety In Sand (Grab A Tissue)
I have a Facebook friend named Daniel whose neighborhood has flooded multiple times over the last few years. Understandably, he suffers from serious storm anxiety.
As Harvey was emerging into the Gulf of Mexico, poor Daniel’s anxiety level was off the charts.
Today, as I’m scrolling through Facebook, I see another post from Daniel. As I read it, I started to cry.
So this morning I decided to try something different to help with my anxiety over the approaching Hurricane. I went down to the public works department to help people fill sand bags. I figured I could grab a few myself and discuss the storm with others there. I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways because after 5 minutes of being there, 3 cars drove up. The first was a disabled Vietnam vet with one leg. He was alone and due to the heat, he was having trouble breathing. I introduced myself and offered my assistance. He told me he previously lived in Maurice but now lived in Lafayette. He has flooded 2 times . He was extremely thankful for my help. I filled bags, he tied a few, and I put them into his car. He asked how he could repay me and I simple said none was needed but it would be nice to go do something kind for another at some other time. He promised to do so. The second car was an elderly couple in the early 80’s. The husband tried to fill bags as his wife held open the bags, but obviously they struggled. I once again offered to help. They were so grateful, the wife almost cried. They too have flooded each of the past years from storms. Full of sand and sweat as I was, she insisted on giving me a hug in thanks. I must admit I teared up a little. The third car was a young woman in her 20’s. She was alone. She asked me “How do I do this? I’m not from around here.” Turns out she was from out of state now living in Lafayette and is panicking over the impending flood. She said a friend was on the way to help her and did not need me to help fill bags. I showed her how to fill and tie a bag anyway. I think she was embarrassed because she didn’t know anything about sand bags. She smiled and thanked me. I think I put her mind at ease a little as well. Funny thing is, after all of this, I felt better too. Kindred spirits sharing the same fears I guess. As I was about to leave, I remembered that I still needed few bags for myself too and proceeded to put a few in my Jeep. As I was doing so, several other people stopped me and told me how refreshing it was to see someone help others. I simply said it was a pleasure and glad I was able to do so. As I drove off, in my rear view mirror I could see the same people that thanked me filling bags for the people next to them! I guess kindness is contagious. Anyone want to test this theory and find out? I hope you do.
There are not words big enough to describe how what he did impacted me. Anxiety makes a person feel very lonely and isolated. Whether he realized it or not, he was looking it in the face and saying, “NO! Not today.”
Daniel is still very nervous with Harvey hanging around. That’s understandable. He has an amazing wife and two beautiful daughters. He worries for them and for the life they have built. No one wants their families or homes threatened, or to be faced with any disaster after having lived through it multiple times.
However, if we could ALL adopt his attitude of turning that negative anxiety into positive action, imagine what we could accomplish!
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.
— Walter Anderson