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Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey: and an unlikely love story

I often get frustrated with minor inconveniences: red lights when I'm running late, lost car keys, an uncooperative phone. Nothing of importance in the grand scheme of life...but I've been known to lose my shit over it a time or two. A crisis, on the other hand, and I'm your woman.

I find my balance in chaos.

Not always a great quality, but it also helps me cope when I feel like life is going to hell in a hand-basket. I focus on solutions not the tragedy.

The key word in all of this is "a."

A crisis. A tragedy.

Not multiple simultaneously: the devastation in Texas...and the Bahamas...and the Dominican Republic...and Puerto Rico...and Idaho...and Montana...and the threat of North Korea...

I feel ridiculous that I'm emotionally overwhelmed: I'm in Chicago. I and my family and friends are safe...and dry. Yet there's so much destruction and so many that need help.

Where do you begin? The first responders? The children? The elderly? The families? The pets? The clean-up?

photo credit: Jesse Tinsely/ The Spokesman-Review

photo credit: Jesse Tinsely/ The Spokesman-Review

Amidst all of the gut-wrenching photos, I finally found hope.

Harvey and Irma.
Married 75 years.

Irma is 92, Harvey is 104.

In the past century they've lived through wars...the Depression...18 presidents...the invention of television...the telephone...and certainly the smart phone.

And they've fostered over 120 children.

They've weathered life's storms. And yet, they're not sure how to best help either...except "If you can help someone, then help them."

Sometimes it's just that simple...tragedy or not.

Everyone wants to help, to make a difference, to do something. Sometimes we think it has to be a grand gesture to count...or it all seems so overwhelming that we couldn't possibly make a big enough contribution.

And, sometimes, in the midst of chaos, we forget that calm can be that contribution.

I came across an old photo from a weekend in Austin. We were on a bridge watching kayakers on the river below, and I looked up found what's become one of my mantras: Focus One Pointe and Breathe.

We can't change everything...and certainly not all at once.

Sometimes we're sending donations. Sometimes we're offering a ride or shelter. Sometimes we're the calm in another's storm.

And those times when it feels overwhelming, it's ok to take a moment to balance, then begin...

...and "if you can help someone, then help them."

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