I found this video from CBS News about Puerto Rico facebook this morning, along with a plea from a friend asking how to help. Many of us feel powerless in these natural disasters. We feel too far removed and lacking in resources to help on a large scale. But there are ways to help.
There are many places to donate, which becomes confusing and reputable charities seem harder and harder to find. Here is an article from Public Radio International about how to help Puerto Rico and here is a great website that helps you navigate charities and donations. Here is the UUA Disaster Relief Fund should you want it.
Some of us also want to pray, so here is a beautiful prayer written by UUA staff member Anna Bethea and translated by Rev. Jorge Espinel of the Church of the Larger Fellowship.
A Prayer for Hurricane Recovery
The quickness of nature to tear up roads, strip trees, and collapse buildings
Doesn’t compare to the long process of survival and recovery.
Splayed electric lines, floodwaters, and landslides mark devastation,
Yet will never match the lives, dreams, and memories of precious things swept away.
Amidst the dirt and muck, families get up another day to search for clean water and food
While struggling to stay cool and communicate with loved ones,
There is time for tears and emotional release.
While watching, waiting, adjusting, surviving,
There is time for embrace, reunions, prayers.
A return to normal is hard to even imagine – months and years away.
Trauma is a time for us to center the sacred:
The core of who we are, shielded from any storm or disaster.
As we seek resources for immediate needs,
May we also tend to our own and our communities’ needs to restore hope, love, and the seeds of new life.
Oración por la Recuperación del Huracán
La velocidad con la que la naturaleza destruye carreteras, derriba árboles y tumba edificios, no se compara con el largo proceso de supervivencia y recuperación.
Líneas eléctricas derribadas, inundaciones y derrumbes son señales de la devastación pero no se comparan con las vidas, los sueños y los recuerdos de cosas valiosas que han sido arrasadas.
En medio de la basura y el fango las familias se levantan día a día a buscar agua limpia y comida, mientras se esfuerzan por permanecer en calma y comunicarse con sus seres queridos.
Hay tiempo para llorar y soltar las emociones mientras observan, esperan, se ajustan y sobreviven. Hay tiempo para abrazos, reuniones y oraciones.
Es difícil imaginarse lo que es volver a la normalidad, que puede tardar meses y años.
Los momentos de trauma son momentos para enfocarnos en lo sagrado, en la esencia de quienes somos, protegida de cualquier tormenta o desastre. Mientras buscamos recursos para solucionar las necesidades inmediatas, busquemos también maneras de ayudar a los nuestros y a nuestras comunidades a restaurar la esperanza, el amor y las semillas de una nueva vida.
May these words provide you peace, but also motivate you. May these times that we are living in not cause you distress, but allow you to rise to the occasion and be the person you want to be.
“Our Unitarian Universalist Principles call us to stand against criminalization of our communities. The inherent worth and dignity of all people and the inextricable connections between us mean that when one of us is at risk of deportation, none of us are truly free and beloved. When policymakers target people who are served by programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), we refuse to be divided”
For more information contact email@example.com
Image Information: On September 3, Unitarian Universalists joined the ongoing DACA solidarity vigil organized by The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium.
“Kid president believes the things we say can make the world more awesome. Here he shares a list of 20 things we should say more often. What would you add to it?”
There are many isms we are fighting on the way to equality for all people. Whether is be racism, sexism, ageism, heterosexism, ableism, classism, or any other system of oppression, if we are not from the marginalized group, we are not going to have all the answers or do everything right. As Unitarian Universalists we want to “answer the call of love” and help change the world, but sometimes we have to start with ourselves. This article by Sam Dylan Finch has better ways to deal with being called out by marginalized people, because being defensive does not get us anywhere.
In Christian churches there is a 40 day period beginning Ash Wednesday and leading to Easter, that is full of meditation, prayer, and sacrifice. This is act of devotion and a spiritual practice.
While this is not a practice that all UUs participate in, it is something from our history and something that we may wish to participate in. The question might come up, “is there a Unitarian Universalist way to practice Lent?” The answer is yes. A calendar has been created by Mr. Barb Greve and Alex Kapitan. The idea is to focus on a particular word each day during lent and on the Sundays we are to reflect on the word and encourage each other to enact it in our lives. Should you choose to participate you can share your reflections with the hashtag #UULent
Here is the calendar for reference.