The Internet is buzzing with individuals and groups who are coming to the aid of the tornado victims across the south, most predominately in Alabama. FEMA is there, as is USDA for farmers. Everyone wants to help.
This is my home state. Of course I'm concerned about the people. But I'm not helping. Not yet. With all the influx of money and goods and offers of help, my help won't make any real difference right now. Instead I pray for them.
Is it callousness that prevents me from helping? No. On the contrary. I am very worried about what will happen to all those families, young people, elderly people, farmers, small business owners, whoever they are.
I'm waiting for the phenomenon known as the Casserole Period to end before I offer help in terms of time, talents, and treasure. Anyone who has lost a close family member -- parent, spouse, child -- knows exactly what the Casserole Period is.
On average, it's about six months long. During those first months after the funeral, neighbors and church members and friends bring casseroles and frozen dishes for the family's supper. They ask how you're holding up. They offer to help in whatever way is needed. And then it stops.
People no longer ask how you're holding up. They worry if you look sad or teary-eyed after what they think is sufficient time to be over your grief. They no longer bring casseroles.
And so it is with natural disasters. Our focus moves on. Remember Banda Aceh? McDowell County, West Virginia? New Orleans? Port-au-Prince? Christchurch? Sendai? Fukushima?
There will still be a need for assistance six, nine, eighteen months from now. Who will be there to bring casseroles after another trip around the sun?
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