Hurricane Harvey poured its contents down over the Texas coastline from Corpus Christi to Beaumont. So much water and destruction.
In Texas, as we wait for the water to recede, those of us in the outlying areas are rushing to help in any way we can.
We are also panicking just a bit.
Somewhere in Dallas the rumor began: there is going to be a gas shortage! So we all rushed to our local station to fill up.
All. At. The. Same. Time.
Needs that would normally be spaced out over seven days, were attempted to be fulfilled in one afternoon. We shouldn't be surprised that the situation was untenable.
Once gas stations began to run out, the panic deepened, as the inevitable results produced evidence of supposed validity of the fear.
Now we are circling like vultures around gas stations waiting for a tanker to pull up and fill the tanks. I sat in line for over thirty minutes the other day just to fill up. I can't recall doing that since childhood.
I vaguely remember the Oil Embargo of 1973, (yes, I am that old) and our panic reminds me of that situation when we waited in line, hoping to not personally run out of gas before our turn at the pump.
Since most people younger than myself won’t recall that situation, I feel the need to help where I can and give a little “How To” advice.
What To Do
Everyone wants/needs gas as much as you do. Realize that no matter how acute your need is, the persons before you and behind you in line are just as needy. Use that understanding to employ grace, patience, and kindness.
The other people who need gas ARE NOT YOUR ENEMY. They are fellow-countrymen, weathering the storm along with you. Work together. Be nice. Smile. They are not the enemy.
For heaven's sake, unless there is an impending life-threatening or vehicle-damaging situation, just don’t honk. Stress levels are already high and your honking will just make everyone’s increase a notch or five.
Get What You Need, But No More
Every seen It’s A Wonderful Life? There is a scene with a run on the bank, and the crotchety old man demands every cent the bank has of his, $200. George Bailey tries to explain, “We will get through this together. Now, how much do you NEED?”
The next woman, who asks for only $17.50, gets a kiss on the cheek. She started a chain reaction where people only took the money they required, and the bank survived.
We would do well to do the same. Don’t go to the pump with a scarcity mindset. Go with a generous attitude that takes what it needs, yet leaves enough for the next few people in line.
Don’t Mow Your Lawn
… or do anything requiring gas that is unnecessary. If you come by my house right now you will realize I am taking my own advice. My long grass will be cut, but not yet. Once things have evened out there will plenty of time and fuel to do the extras.
Don't Judge Others
Maybe someone in front of you is filling up her five gallon gas can. Before you get angry, realize you don't know her whole story. Maybe she just didn't get the memo above to not mow her lawn. Or, maybe she is hoarding. BUT, maybe she is just getting some gas for her neighbor who ran out and is stuck in his driveway, or for her elderly parent, or for any number of other scenarios.
Don't assume and don't get mad. It won't produce anything but heartburn.
Sound Like Common Sense?
Well, it is common sense. May we all rush out for that as quickly as we do gasoline!
What if we treated our other shortages in the same way we have our gasoline supply issue?
What if we recognized the drastic need for love and understanding and searched for ways we could get some more? And then gave them?
What if we saw our tanks of gratitude running low and so we stopped everything until we could fill them up?
What if we stood in line to get to know each other instead of waving signs and yelling in each other’s faces?
I am not saying we will all think the same or agree. But what would happened if we took some common sense with us when we disagreed with other’s viewpoints?
The crisis in Houston is revealing to the whole nation that there is much more we have in common than we were beginning to think.
We do care about each other.
We will sacrificially pursue helping others.
We are generously giving from our resources to assist where needed.
We will give up time and treasure to reach out to the hurting.
So my last piece of advice:
Before going to the gas line, watch one of the thousands of videos of common people rescuing their neighbors and strangers along the way.
Watch an interview of someone who hitched up his boat, jumped in his truck, and drove through the night from another state just in case he could assist someone.
Watch an account of a woman tenderly comforting a stranger, attending a need, or hugging a crying child.
Watch an interview of a young father, clutching his son's hand, who has lost EVERYTHING, and who says, "Thank God!" because he is just so grateful they are both alive.
Then go sit in line for a bit to fill up your car.
It really isn’t that bad.