Throughout these past few days a line from a song has run in my head and occassionally I have sung it aloud, "there is hope for me yet, because God won't forget all the plans He's made for me, I'll have to wait and see, he's not finished with me yet." This line from Brandon Heath's song has been a source of comfort during this time of sorrow and challenges. There is HOPE for all of us. God is there for us and will always be there.
Helping others has given me hope. As I have seen the amount of people who have come to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in the past few weeks looking to help has been overwhelning. Many come in and simply ask "how can I help?' The jobs haven't been glamorous, hauling cases of water, sorting through bags, taking out the garbage or shifting through boxes of shampoo. However, everyone has helped.
Offering words of encouragement and a smile and a hug. That simple gesture of a smile and a hug has been the needed ingredient for many. It costs nothing but the reward is large. The response by those affected to a smile or hug is always positive although sometimes resulting in tears. I have seen people that I haven't seen in years and in that moment I am able to convey my care and love by that simple hug and offering of words of encouragement.
Prayer has been coming from all over the world and the country. Letting people know that we are praying for them is important during these difficult times. Saying God Bless as people drive from all over the country with their donations and their words of encouragment is simple but means so much. The amount of phone calls and emails that I have received just from people letting me know that they are praying for us is uplifting. Continuing to pray for all of those affected and all who are working to help rebuild reminds us that there is hope.
Eucharist is who we are as Catholics. Sunday morning at Mass, I was so uplifted to see a woman who has lost so much to the superstorm as a eucharistic minister. This is what we are all about, giving thanks for what we have and sharing that with others. We are called to be a eucharisitic people and that gives me hope.
Hurricane Sandy may have altered our plans but they have not altered the plans that God has for us. We will rebuild, we will rise again, and we will continue to have hope.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church remains a donation and distribution center. We are open from 12-5 through this Sunday and then will set up a new schedule for the following week. Please check out www.helphighlandsnj.org for ways that you can help and what items are still needed. The church is located at 141 Navesink Ave. in Highlands, NJ.