If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard. (Proverbs 21:13)
When I was a little boy, our family was stationed at Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. I have just a few memories, but I have family stories that have been handed down. For instance, my little brother wandered out into the busy road in front of the house. If it were not for an older man who ran in front of a car, my brother would have been killed. Our home was next to a school, and I would run out and play with the local kids. I didn’t speak Spanish and they didn’t speak English, but we had wonderful times playing together. My mother learned a number of Puerto Rican-types of handwork from the local women, including intricate bobbin lace patterns.
I ache wondering, all these years later, how my schoolyard friends, now grown with families of their own, are doing amidst hurricanes and earthquakes. If you have never been to Puerto Rico, it is easy to lump them together as “those struggling people,” and forget that each one is a loving, supportive individual, with hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments. Many of them live close to the edge, balancing on the tip of poverty. I cannot imagine how each one is holding it all together amidst two natural disasters.
Today, pray for the people of Puerto Rico – but as individuals, not as a group. Picture a child and her parents. Or a young man sitting with his grandparents. Visualize their dreams and desires. Even take a minute and use Google images to see pictures of average Puerto Ricans. Pray for God to give each one strength, hope, and love. God knows they need Divine intervention after all they’ve had to endure. They also need all the care we are able to provide.