It’s getting to be toward the end of August. Whenever a storm is brewing this time of year, my mind travels back to 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. It was only a couple of weeks after that storm that a colleague and I traveled to the Diocese of Biloxi and spent time in Bay St. Louis with the amazing people of St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church. I met the pastor there, Fr. Sebastian, who has since written a book about the experience called Blown Together: The Trials and Miracles of Katrina. While spending time with Fr. Sebastian, he related stories of so many people who called or visited or offered help in the weeks after the storm. Many, he said, had grand ideas for things they might do to help. “It’s the little things we need, too,” he’d reply.
Many of the stories I heard were not about a building or a vehicle or something big like that. They were about a conversation, a prayer, a sandwich, a cold glass of tea. One incredibly hot afternoon in Bay St. Louis, I was nursing a injured hand from a misplaced hammer adventure the day before. Feeling a bit useless, I went out running errands and really wanted to get ice so the dinner’s lemonade wasn’t warm. Tough commodity to find right then. I had nearly given up when in front of me on the highway I saw a truck with a polar bear on the side. I followed him for a few miles until he stopped at a store. Five minutes and a bit too much cash later, I had two large coolers and enough ice for dinner. When I served the lemonade that night, Fr. Sebastian smiled and reminded me, again, that it‘s the little things.
This week, I invite you to find something you can do to ease the load of another. It might not feel like much to you, but could mean quite a lot to someone else.