It’s been a strange and surreal week facing the devastating, shocking disaster of the Kerala floods. There are no real words for the sorrow for an event like this. More than 10,000 km of roads washed away, over a lakh of houses destroyed or damaged, and the loss of life has been overwhelming.
This tragedy will not fade for the people of Kerala for a very long time. In many ways they will always carry it.
It will fade out of the news, but they will walk differently because of the events of August 2018.
We’ve learned a lot over this week, and we hope this note will be a reminder to you when the dark feels endless, and when it feels like the rain is not going to cease.
Here are some things we learnt –
1. Learn to Weep
“I’ve always found it hard when it comes to being emotional about people or situations. When I first heard about the Kerala floods, I was indifferent to it. A lot of disasters takes place everyday that we hear nothing about, and the floods in Kerala were just one of them, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. But as I kept hearing the stories of people living without food and water, unable to get in touch with their loved ones, feeling scared and lost, crying out to people across the country for help, I realized that if I wasn’t weeping over this, my heart was not in the state it should’ve been in – it was hardened.
I prayed to weep, and the next story I heard, I did. I wept like I haven’t for a long time. And in that very moment I realized, that I could only truly help a person or a cause, if my heart was broken over it first.”
2. The Power of Prayer
“A lot us during this time felt so helpless and useless and wished we could do more for the people in Kerala but I realized prayer can be the most underrated tool in the tool belt when someone we love begins to suffer. You can go on your knees for someone. God makes it all sorts of clear in Mathew 6: you don’t need to pray the loudest prayers in the room. Our quietest actions can reap the loudest results and it truly did this season.
Just be a person dedicated to prayer in secret. Prayer is powerful but prayer is more than the sentiment, “I’m praying for you.” It’s knees sunk deep in the carpet and ugly sobs. It’s going to battle in the spirit world when the reality doesn’t make much sense. This was such a lesson during this time on the power and the beauty of going on our knees.
3. Everything I own presently is future garbage
“The morning after we bought medicines, blankets and items to support the Kerala flood relief, I took out my guitar like I always do and began to worship. It dawned on me that if floods hit Bangalore today, I’d have to leave my precious guitar. Right after that, I sat down to work on my laptop, and I thought about floods in Bangalore again and realised I’d have to leave the laptop that I get so much work done on and rely heavily upon, behind.
All our possessions would mean absolutely nothing to us if a disaster like that struck.
I learnt, in this season, that nothing I own is really mine. It could all go away in an instant. I learnt, that I give more importance to the things I own than I should, and it’s about time I stopped.”
4. People can be SO Generous, and it is always blessed to give
The way people responded all over has been so amazing. It’s been moving to see the community as a whole come together, to have texts and posts fly around friends and strangers finding housing for the flood victims, reaching out to emergency contact numbers, processing grief and shock and just rallying together emotionally in a difficult and tragic time.
People everywhere have been asking how they can help. Provision stores have been packed with people buying stocks for relief victims. People have been donating to relief funds constantly, and there has been an overall realization that it is such a blessing to GIVE.
It served as such a powerful reminder to always choose love. We are so encouraged by people who bring us back to what is important, what really matters.
Don’t doubt the impact your small acts can have in a dark and crazy world.
This world definitely needs them. Keep showing up and giving generously. It matters.
5. Avoid giving advice
We’ve seen a lot of posts during this time filled with self help gurus, hate and ignorance. Unless your advice is full of encouragement, steer clear of trying to tell someone why the suffering is happening. It’s okay to say to someone, “I don’t know why this happened. I’m not sure.” God won’t be phased by that. We are allowed to be honest. We are allowed to express groans within our deepest sorrows.
6. Life is short – and your pride is so small
“When disaster strikes, you take a step back and look at the big picture, and you realize your pride, your ego and bitterness don’t matter at all. If I was a volunteer at one of the relief camps, and the person I hated the most was working with me, I wouldn’t hold back from doing my work to the fullest, because the big picture would be all that mattered.
I realized in the last few days, that when I wanted to help, I didn’t care about the bitterness I was harboring against certain people. I didn’t care about how I was doing at work, or how many Instagram followers I had. All that mattered was the fact that there were people dying, and that help was needed.
Here’s the truth – disaster strikes every day. I don’t only mean floods, earthquakes and tsunamis. I’m referring to everything around us – people suffering from hunger, brokenness, loneliness and things we can’t even imagine.
Disaster is all around us and it’s time we took a step back and looked at the big picture.
7. The world needs us
Oh it really needs us – EVERYDAY – to come together, lay aside our personal agendas, and live radical lives – devoted to God, dedicated to lifting each other up in prayer, in serving, in love and kindness.
This life is hard. This life is far from perfect and really good people are maimed all the time. It doesn’t make sense and it may never make sense. We have to remind ourselves that making sense of everything isn’t the point. We are not here on this planet to be a puzzle master or to find all the answers to the deepest questions. We are here to be a light.
We are hopefully going to leave this planet better than we found it.