Beyond the Surface

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last week I got the opportunity to travel to Phil Campbell with our church to help out with the disaster relief efforts after a tornado had ripped through the town and surrounding area’s leaving nothing but destruction behind it on April 27th 2011. One of the things I recall very clear in my mind is that driving into Phil Campbell it looked like nothing more than a big wind storm had hit the place, there were a few trees uprooted and laying in yards, but there was minimal damage. It wasn’t till we got further in, into the heart of Phil Campbell that the true nature of the problem became apparent. It was like there was a magic dividing line, and once it was crossed, we soon realized that what we saw coming in was nothing compared to what lied within. The place was practically flattened, the trees that did stand were nothing more than twigs in the air, they had been stripped of everything that had once made them beautiful, their leaves and their branches were gone. The roofs of buildings had collapsed, walls had caved in, and the places had been deemed unsafe. People had to resort to living in tents and hand made shelters. There was no running water, and no electricity to be found. Even our own building had been destroyed.
Some of the destruction.

Our South Campus...or what was left of it.

It kind of reminds me of how we, as people can be. Just like the minimal damage on the outskirts of Phil Campbell hid the devastation that lay within, we only allow people to see what is on the outside, we fake smiles and laughs to mask the pain that lies beneath. Our conversations consist of “Hey, how are you?” “Oh, I’m pretty good. How are you?” “I’m pretty good as well” and then we part ways, never bothering to go deeper then just the outside appearance, never bothering to see the hurt that people hold within. And in reality, most people want you to dig past the surface; they want you to take the mask off their face. They want to express to you how they really feel. Maybe we don’t take time to find out because we’re always in a hurry. Or maybe it’s because we’re afraid that if we stay around any longer we will have to become vulnerable to that person. But how can we expect to help a hurting world when we can even manage to dig a little past the cliché conversations with our friends and become vulnerable with each other? I don’t mean to spill your guts to some random person, but maybe be willing to listen to them a little longer than 10 seconds at a time.

This wasn’t the direction I had intended for this post to go, but apparently God had a something different in mind. I hope you got something out of this, I know that even though I was the one writing it, I learned from it…hahaha.