Tragedy strikes again.

I was laying down (a rare privilege for me), watching the noon news trying to catch up on what is going on beyond my personal chaos.

Breaking News flashes across the screen. ”Bombs go off at the Boston Marathon”. I jump up on feet staring at the screen in disbelief- not again.

Just a few days later, in the middle of the flurry of interviews and investigations Breaking News flashes again….plant explosion in Water, TX. Too close to home and heart.

Many dead, many injured. I have to do something and I want to do it now.

From The Eye of The Camera

People are running, smoke is everywhere and my heart is pounding. I couldn’t have left the room if I wanted to. The camera had transported me to Boston and to Water, TX. I want to know if there were any children hurt. How can I help?  I wanted to reach out to the mother who lost her child. I know how awful that feels. I wanted to embrace the man with extensive burns. I feel his pain. The cameras has a powerful magic that merges my world with theirs. But when the camera’s cease, the spell is broken.

Immediate Responses

Help lines and centers are emerging for assistance to those affected by the traumas. I want to send a donation to the first help center I get an address for. Then experience begins to speak. I remember my family’s house fire in 1999. It was a very tragic situation that brought out the best of Houston’s generous spirit. For as long as the story stayed alive in the media the donations and support survived. My family will be forever grateful for the outpouring of love and financial help. The problem is, the effects of tragedy goes on long after the cameras and interviews are over. In most cases it gets worse. First responders have done their job. Now it is time for the rest of us to engage for the long haul.

What No One Sees

In our family’s case, we needed continual help years after the donations and initial response to our tragedy. Not only financially, but emotionally and otherwise. When the initial shock wears off, a family is then forced to deal with the devastation of reality. It is in that phase where true friendship is invaluable. A kindness and generosity that the world may never get a glimpse of. Yet that service you render will live in the heart of those you served for an eternity,

How Can I Help Now

When tragedy strikes in our nation, aspire to let your heart stay engaged longer than the cameras and TV interviews. The people you are reaching out to support initially are in a state of shock at the first outpouring of donations. They will need committed supporters and friends during the rebuilding phase.

There is a true beauty and confidence that overshadows us when we help our fellow man. When the world forgets, you don’t have to.

Remember life is most enjoyable when there is heart, beauty, and true confidence.


*This post first appeared on Jennings Wire where Justina is a contributing blogger.