Loving thy neighbor can get people through their darkest hour.
When our neighbor is in need, one of the first things we can do is reach out and lend a helping hand. This was the case 12 years ago when Texans offered food, shelter, and jobs to those in their neighboring state of Louisiana, where many lives and livelihoods had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. And now those in New Orleans are in the position to return the favor, by opening their doors to their Texan neighbors who’ve seen their own lives turned upside down by last month’s Hurricane Harvey.
A full page ad in Sunday’s edition of the Houston Chronicle offered the same southern hospitality that those in New Orleans had experienced just over a decade ago:
“You opened your homes, closets, and kitchens. You found schools for our kids and jobs to tide us over… Our doors are open. Our clothes come in every size. There’s hot food on our stove, and our cabinets are well-stocked . . . For as long as you need, we’re here to help.”
The ad, commissioned by the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and penned by New Orleans native, Andrew Hunter, not only offered much needed sustenance to the victims of hurricane Harvey; more importantly, it offered hope, reassurance, and gratitude from those who’ve been in the same position:
“Know this — in our darkest hour, we found peace and a scorching, bright light with our friends of Texas. And we hope you’ll find the same in us.”
It reassured Texans that in time “home will feel like home again, even if it seems like a lifetime away” and that they’d soon return to their friendly state rivalry, between football and who makes the better barbecue — you know, the basics in life!
However, the real beauty in the ad was the acknowledgement of the Texans’ inspirational qualities and strengths, urging them to keep on going during the tough times ahead. It ended with the simple message: “We couldn’t be more proud to call you our neighbors, our friends, our family.” It’s no surprise that the newsman, Matt Schwartz, who tweeted the ad, shared that he and his wife had “moist eyes” having read it.
Once again, through disaster we’re seeing the very best of people, reminding us how we can ride out any storm when we truly love our neighbor.