By: Carrie Baker

The natural world is both incredible and powerful. It gives and takes away; it provides and yet also possesses the power to deprive millions of people all over the world. Over the course of this past year, humanity has been forced to realize that we truly are at the mercy of what has felt like a merciless force to be reckoned with. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia, Lee and Maria were some of the strongest-observed storms in years, and ripped through the southernmost United States and Central America, decimating businesses and leaving many homeless. Wildfires raged through the west destroying fertile land, livestock and livelihoods; and the death toll rose as earthquakes and their aftershocks shook Mexico to its core.
The natural world isn’t the only thing in unrest, however. This past year has been a year of division for the world, especially the continental United States. Operating in the background of society has been a screaming narrative of political, racial, social and religious divide. Whole families, organizations, institutions, states, countries and nations are in a battle of beliefs. We are shouting, but not listening. It’s too easy to sit back, observe, claim witness to a broken nation, and relinquish our faith in humanity. However, if you look really closely, you might discover a latent narrative. Hidden in the trenches of the divide, unrest and chaos is a message of resilience sponsored by strangers reaching across the global table.

People all around the world are putting aside their beliefs and donating money, goods, time and prayers to those affected by these natural disasters. People are breaking down barriers that never should have existed to begin with, all for the sake of humanity. If you’re not already a part of this destruction, then you should be. I pray that victims never lose hope at the hands of a world that didn’t step up.
As I sit and reflect on all the turmoil in the world—at the power of the elements to which so many fall prey—I can’t help but think about the power that these elements possess, not just to take away, but to give. It’s apparent that the natural world is powerful, but the resilience of the people who inhabit it have the potential to be more powerful than these elemental disasters. As more strangers become neighbors, humanity’s reach extends further than we could ever imagine. Stories are shared, tears are shed, and livelihoods are rebuilt. Through it all, one begins to realize that destruction—if it allows us to rebuild what was broken in the first place—may be an avenue of hope. Perhaps its purpose is to restore a broken and divided humanity.

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