Dari’s Difference

Unite instead of Divide
Devastation, destruction, and heartache filled our screens, tablets, and smartphones this past month. We all watched as thousands of our fellow Americans had to be rescued from rising floodwaters in Texas. As I am writing this, we are on the cusp of another hurricane that could bring even more demolition to Florida or other states along the east coast. During this tragic time, I have seen the country come together in ways that didn’t seem possible just a few short weeks ago. “The country is divided more than ever” we heard from many directions. Social media posts, tweets and pictures seemed to emphasize that cry.

BUT then came Harvey – the cries of division were halted as we watched hundreds of people travel to Texas with boats, jet skis, and other high water vehicles to jump in and help the citizens suffering due to the massive flooding. We saw children open lemonade stands so that they could raise money to send to Texas. My own neighborhood launched an underwear drive, this item we often take for granted, to ship down to those who have none.
As I have internalized this drastic change in the tone of our nation, I have asked why on so many levels.

Why does it take a tragedy to unite us?
Why do people have to suffer before we pause to focus on our commonality?
Why does it take sacrifice and loss before we overlook our differences?
Why do negative stories prevail until disaster strikes?

This month I challenge you to look deep inside yourself and ponder these questions. In this self-reflection, I hope you can focus on the things that unite us instead of divide us. Who in your circles causes strife and angst for you? Is it possible for you to look for things that you can agree on and lessen or even eliminate the division between you and this person?

The other thing I hope manifests itself as we approach landfall of Hurricane Irma is how the average person CAN Make a Difference in the lives of others. The men and women who mobilized to help others when needed inspire me beyond words. They left their homes, jobs, and families to do what they could – drive a boat, provide basic needs, cook meals, etc. A local Texas grocery store chain worked overtime to ensure they stayed open with some of the bare necessities for as long as possible. A local furniture store provided shelter for hundreds of Texans, not caring if their inventory got damaged.

We may never know if we will find ourselves in the position to rescue someone from flood waters, sacrifice some of our profits to provide a place for a displaced child to sleep, or work overtime to help coordinate distribution of water or food. The lesson we can learn from Harvey and Irma is to always be willing to make a difference. I have seen countless posts on social media offering those fleeing Florida a place to stay. Those posts, tweets, and pictures are the America that I know and love. The America that focuses on things that unite rather than divide us.

So my Go M.A.D (Go Make a Difference) challenge for this month has two parts. One – Meditate and reflect on ways you can unite in your own personal life as mentioned above, and Two – Be swift to jump in and help when faced with the opportunity to do so.

Dari Mullins
Written by Dari Mullins