You could hear our belly laughs throughout the neighborhood as the Tejano music proudly played. There was even some dancing. Then the food came out: carne asada, chicken, salsa, guacamole and rice. It had all the makings of a block party in south Texas, but it was high noon, 95 degrees with high humidity and this area had just experienced severe flooding that brought widespread damage to homes. We were soaked in sweat from four hours of “mucking out” a house.
As always, we had thought we were going to have our usual lunch of sandwiches and chips, but the homeowners, the people we were there to help, had other plans, and so came our impromptu “block party lunch break.” We did not know the people we were helping until that day when we knocked on their door and said “we’re here to help you,” but there we were, having our party-lunch as if we had been life-long friends.
For a lot of folks, it’s hard to comprehend how people who are experiencing some of their worst moments in life can be so gracious to feed ten (almost) complete strangers. And many of us Team Rubicon volunteers find it hard to believe each time it happens, but we have moments like these over and over. These experiences only confirm people are good, people care about people, and even heart-warming, happy experiences can be created in the middle of the worst moments in a person’s life.
The resiliency of these homeowners, and all the residents in these communities, has been truly inspiring. They are a glowing example of the cliché: “life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”