“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” ~ Proverbs 22:9
Hurricane Maria’s wrath barreled through Puerto Rico last week, leaving behind a wake of destruction. In the thick of their tremendous plight, “We will rise,” was a common mantra.
Nestled near La Pared, or the wall, in the town of Luquillo, Williams Pizza stood. In the first hours after the hurricane, a picture emerged on social media, showing that only a shell of the restaurant remained. It would be one of the few pictures we would see of Luquillo as we waited for communication. For life to stir.
When my family surfaced, one of the first things my mother told me about was a pizza place in town – a different location of Williams Pizza that had been fortunate enough to have a generator. The day after Maria passed through, they started making pizzas. People stood in line for 20 minutes. One piece per person. Since her husband wasn’t with her, she gratefully took one piece for them to share.
She realized later how easily they could have inflated the prices. Instead, they had given it away. For free. Hoping to help as many people as possible, they rationed the slices.
Given the damage around them, resources were sure to be short. Yet, kindness triumphed. Hungry bellies were fed. Tired, hurting people were loved. Humbly, unconditionally, generously loved.
During the time I searched for my family in an ocean of uncertainty, I found a few valuable things, as well. Compassion, willingness, mercy, love abounded. People ready to help one another however they could – to pass inquiry on loved ones and celebrate when they were found, even when they were still left wondering about their own. There was no cynicism; only encouragement. And it came quickly – despite a language barrier, broken communication due to a damaged electric grid and cell towers, and a distance spanning 2400 miles.
People stood together, sharing information generously and loving lavishly. The people I met virtually along the way, blessed me with their rich measure of hospitality in the most helpless of circumstances.
Beauty was rising from the ashes in Luquillo. May blessings overwhelm the hospitable!