For many, Memorial Day Weekend signifies the beginning of summer, and summer in the Hill Country sure has gotten off to a tragic start. Our hearts go out to all of the flood and tornado victims across the country, but especially in the areas that we serve. Over Memorial Day Weekend rain was coming down in buckets, and storms were all around us. Blanco County, the southern-most county in our service area, received record amounts of rain, which swelled the Blanco River and caused a great deal of devastation for residents in and around Blanco County. While this was going on in the Blanco Area, Lampasas County, our northern-most county, was hit with a tornado that damaged several homes. It is tragedies like these that really put life into perspective and remind us of how fragile human life can be.
The Great Dalai Lama referenced a Tibetan saying when he reported “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” Dalai Lama went on to state “No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful the experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” Hope is rising in these areas of devastation as citizens rally together to support and comfort those needing help. Clean-up is underway and rebuilding might be slow, but I am certain that hope and determination will prevail.
Natural disasters, while trying and unfair, are not unlike what child victims of abuse and neglect endure. These children see disaster and devastation in their own homes on a very regular basis – so regularly that, to many children, these everyday disasters become normal to them. Then, when CPS comes in and removes the children from what the child views as “normal” the real disaster begins because the children are removed from what might be scary and devastating, but known, to what is unknown. Their whole world is turned upside down and most do not know how to react or recover. Like those assisting in Blanco and Lampasas Counties, our Volunteer Advocates serve as a light in the darkness for these kids. They provide hope to the hopeless so that hope is NOT lost and so that out of disaster can come strength and beauty.
To all of the flood and tornado victims out there – we are truly sorry for your losses and pray for hope to restore your strength. We at CASA for the Highland Lakes Area hope that each and every one of you have a safe and enjoyable rest of the summer.
Kristen K. Harris, MSSW
Executive Director at CASA for the Highland Lakes Area