As of today, Hurricane Dorian has stayed almost stationary, only moving slightly, while pounding the people, buildings and all on the Bahamas for 45 straight hours. It may continue to move up the Eastern coastal areas of the United States with great concerns for many. We are totally grateful to the hundreds of workers with their fully equipped trucks waiting to restore power, as needed. These have come from as far as Canada to Daytona Beach, Florida. The Red Cross and other first responders are coming to help.
Keep all those who are suffering today in your prayers while we, in the inland areas, move around mostly in comfort and safety. The bands of rain continue to blast as the hurricane passes.
It is not only the devastation of any hurricane for the humans in the path, but also the animals. One woman in the Bahamas decided to do something about this. This short video tells of her compassion.
Click for short video. Turn on sound
If you are one of our readers and not in the U.S. and would like to see what has been happening in the Bahamas, here is another link.
Little acts of kindness can go a long way, but how often will someone step out of their own comfort zone to do something that will mean a great deal to others? Reaching out does not seem to be a strong point for most people. It sometimes takes courage and certainly takes selflessness.
I read this article recently, written by Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer, and felt it was worth including in my blog. Would you have done this? Rather, would you have just sat in your seat, gritting your teeth, and expecting someone else to take care of the situation? Be honest with yourself as you answer.
Rochel Groner made a decision that impacted the life of a little boy and many others. Race or religion did not matter or the fact that they were strangers. She decided to reach out.
“She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.
By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half- hour before I would say something,” she says. But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.
“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”
Groner knew this not through training, although she used to teach elementary school, but from experience. She and her husband run Friendship circle, which pairs teen volunteers with children with special needs such as autism. They also run ZABS Place, a Matthews thrift boutique that employs 28 young adults with “special talents.”
Social connections work a special magic, Bentzion Groner says. As a 16-year-old diagnosed with leukemia, he says, visits and gifts from friends “literally changed everything. I’m a big believer in that. It’s something that we as adults forget, that friendship could be a life changer.” And so it was over the Atlantic aboard Brussels Airlines Flight 501.
As the wailing continued, tension mounted. Sleeping passengers woke up, startled by the noise. Others stirred, restless and increasingly irritated. The phone between the attendants’ station and flight deck kept beeping. After 15 minutes, Rochel Groner could sit still no longer.
“I kind of felt this responsibility, like, I know what this is, but I’m not sure if anybody else knows what this is,” she says. “You cannot fly for eight hours with someone crying, you just can’t.”
Autistic people, in particular, dislike enclosed spaces, Bentzion Groner said. They need to be in control of what’s around them. The boy’s identity and condition are unknown. The airline didn’t respond to an Observer email.
Groner got out of her seat. She asked for a pen from a flight attendant, grabbed a nausea bag and threaded her way down the aisle. The boy looked to be about 8 and wore an African tunic and pants. He stood at his seat and sobbed, tears streaming down his face. His mother, who wore Muslim clothing, sat beside him. Groner put her hand out. The boy looked at her, stopped his wailing, and took it. They walked into the aisle and plopped down together on the floor near an emergency exit.
“I put him in my lap and gave him a firm hug and I just started to rock him,” she says. His body had been tensed. Soon, “you could feel his muscles start to relax.”
Groner doodled on the nausea bag, tracing the outline of her hand as the boy watched, absorbed. Groner talked and smiled at him, and grabbed more nausea bags. At one point, the boy traced his own hand. So it went for another hour or two. A travel pillow, some orange juice and cookies helped calm the child. The boy spun a fidget spinner and held it to his cheek, soothed by its rhythm. He even smiled and laughed.
The rest of the trip went smoothly, Groner said, although one crew member suggested to her husband that she didn’t need to intervene. Another attendant thanked her after the flight, and so did several passengers. The boy’s mother, in a few words of English, also thanked Groner. She did not get their names. Groner believes God put her on the flight.
“Everybody’s been on a flight with a screaming child, and this is another way to defuse the situation,” she says. “Just ask: is there something I can do? Smile, don’t scowl.”
by Bruce Henderson
Thank you, Rochel. You are a special person with a caring heart. There should be more people like you in the world.
All acts of kindness: “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 …and in doing so, we will feel and know our Savior’s love.
VIDEO: Voices of children “I feel my Savior’s Love”
What would make a prominent judge spend the night in jail with a man he hardly knew? The only answer to that is a compassionate heart for those who have served and served well…but have problems.
Sgt. Joseph Serna of North Carolina was a Green Beret. He had four combat tours in Afghanistan as a Special Forces soldier. His army career had stretched over two decades. Because of a roadside bomb and a suicide bomber, he almost lost his life three different times. In Kandahar, his armored truck careened into a canal and his fellow soldier, Sgt. James Treber, saved him.
“I felt a hand come down and unfasten my seat belt and release my body armor,” Serna recalled. “Sgt. Treber picked me up and moved me to a small pocket of air. He knew there was not enough room for both of us to breathe so he went under water to find another pocket of air.” Unfortunately, Sgt. Treber died and Serna survived.
Sgt. Serna earned three Purple Hearts, but returned home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This led him to drinking to excess and was picked up for driving while intoxicated.
This event landed him in the Cumberland County, N.C. court of Judge Lou Olivera. The Judge spent numerous times with Serna to evaluate his progress with these problems. Finally after being untruthful about one of his tests, the Judge sentenced him to a day in jail.
The next part is why I am writing this blog because there could be numerous writings on the problems that our Veterans have with stress after serving their country. Here enters the Judge and his compassion for this young soldier. Judge Olivera drives Serna to the jail.
“Where are we going?” Serna asked the Judge. The reply was, “We are going to turn ourselves in.” What Serna did not know was Judge Olivera had decided that this prisoner would not spend the night or 24 hours alone. He decided to spend the sentence with the prisoner. Judge Olivera is also a veteran of the Gulf War and he was so concerned about Serna that he did not want the isolation to trigger Serna’s PTSD.
As Serna sat down on the cot in his cell, he heard the door rattle open again and saw Judge Olivera standing before him. Olivera sat down beside him. Someone came and locked the door. This was a one-man cell so we sat on the bunk and I said, ‘You are here for the entire time with me?’” Sgt. Serna said. “He said, ‘Yeah that’s what I am doing.’”
“They have worn the uniform and we know they can be contributing members of society,” Olivera said. “We just want to get them back there.”
(Taken in part from an article by Yanet Yang of the Washington Post)
If you or someone you know has these symptoms along with alcohol or drug abuse, seek medical help immediately. The sooner the help, the better the results.
To be kind is defined as benevolence, humanity, generosity, charity,sympathy, compassion, tenderness. One would think that it would be very easy to be kind. For some it is easier than for others. Usually we notice that a person is being kind, generous, compassionate when he/she goes out of his way to do something for another. It is amazing how much people also go out of their way to be belligerent, condescending, sarcastic, and even ruthless. Those who fit this description must go to bed each evening with very little happiness. There is joy in doing something for someone when we receive no credit or recognition. It is a little secret that we hide within our heart.
I remember when I was in college and had very little money for everyday spending. I went to my college mailbox and found a white envelope with my name on it. Inside was a $10 bill with a note…saying “something for one of God’s children”. That has been many years ago, but I have never forgotten it. Only God knows who sent it to me.
In the Holy Scriptures, Ephesians 4:32 tells us “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Why do we show kindness or compassion? It may be because there is a place in each heart, unless it has been hardened, that knows that we are blessed…and there is always someone else who has a life more difficult. We reach out because in the back of our minds we know that were we in the same place, we would hope someone would reach out to us.
We may be in the right place at the right time to see a heroic deed that goes beyond kindness. We call those people heroes. A kind person does not have a name…but the person or animal receiving that kindness will remember even if they don’t know a name.
Make this day a day to show your kindness to “one of God’s children…or small creature .”