times it requires a human crisis or disaster to bring out the best in us
humans, especially when the circumstances create a situation where many people
have lost nearly all of their worldly possessions. This was the case in
Washington, Ill., recently, where as many as 400 families lost their homes after
two dozen tornadoes ripped across central Illinois on Sunday, Nov. 17.
The devastation caused many of us to take pause from our busy lives and feel empathy toward the victims of this disaster. Most of us realized it could just as easily have been us who suffered the losses. At times like this, the most conscious of us (the most human in spirit) realize that we, as humans, are all connected and that the losses suffered by the families in Washington, Ill., are our losses, too. When one of us suffers, we all suffer.
One person, in particular, an employee at the ARC Elmhurst location, decided to take action to help. She spoke with friends who had a truck and wanted to take some much-needed items down to the families in Washington. She engaged her co-workers to help out, and many of our patients as well, and several of them did. Word spread fast, and within 24 hours, hundreds of caring, conscious individuals began to show up at our door to drop off much needed items. What started as a selfless desire to help in some small way, had taken on a life of its own.
Soon, the waiting and reception area became filled with generous donations, and when there was no more room in the waiting/reception area, we filled one treatment room, and then a second treatment room, as well. By the end of the week, the cumulative donations would have filled a semi-truck trailer. One very thoughtful person even donated enough gas cards to pay for the fuel needed to make the trip to Washington and back to Elmhurst to deliver the goods. Another loaded her SUV to the top, including the passenger seat, with supplies, and when they could not be easily unloaded by our staff, left her car keys with us, so we could unload the vehicle later. The Elmhurst police department was very accommodating, allowing her to leave her vehicle overnight in the public parking lot outside our office so it could be unloaded the next day.
The good feelings generated by all the selfless giving of time, energy and resources can hardly be measured. It is the same good feeling we all experience when we are part of something bigger than ourselves, something that is helping to ease the suffering around us, or even just helping to make life a little better for someone else. It makes us realize that we don’t have to wait for a disaster to happen to generate that feeling. We can get it by being more conscious in our everyday lives and making a life a little more pleasant for everyone we come in contact with. Hugging a family member or close friend, cheerfully greeting the people we work with or come in contact with during the day, or smiling and saying hello to a stranger we pass on the street, are all ways to connect with other human beings in a positive way. Several studies have shown that a joyful attitude contributes to a healthier you.
Life hands all of us challenges. When we accept them, and deal them with an attitude of gratitude, overcoming those challenges seems much less daunting.
ARC Physical Therapy extends our greatest feelings of gratitude to the residents of Elmhurst who donated items to our clinic for those affected by the Illinois Tornadoes. We would also like to thank the Elmhurst Patch, Corepower Yoga, The Runner’s Soul, Fitt-RX and the Elmhurst Park District for helping us to spread the word about the donations. Without all of you, this would not have been possible!
Peace and Joy this holiday season. —ARC Physical Therapy Founder and President Kevin M. Cronin, PT, ATC, JSCC