There Is No Place Like Nebraska

Well, we’ve done a fair amount of cursing the weather in the past couple of months as we anxiously await the arrival of spring. But after last week’s extreme conditions, we’re suddenly feeling a little silly for having complained about a little bit of cold and snow.

It seems like, every once in awhile, something happens that really puts things in perspective. It basically grabs you by the shoulders, shakes you, and makes you realize just how lucky you are (and just how much you take for granted). We spend our days hustling toward our next goal or for more money to be able to afford this or that, and we forget to take the time to just stop and recognize how blessed we are where it counts. There’s a quote that seems very fitting here that says, “Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have.”

Today, there are folks who are waking up in a fire station or on someone else’s couch. Homes are gone. Roads are gone. Businesses are gone. Bridges are gone. Pets and livestock are gone. And for some, it’s even worse. Our hearts go out to all of the people in communities throughout Nebraska and the Midwest who have been impacted, displaced, or endured devastating loss.

And while the sight of it all breaks our hearts, the coming together of people really warms our hearts. In the wake of such devastation, we can’t help but be extremely touched by all the good happening. It seems like the worst has a way of bringing out the best in people.

Communities throughout the state are full of people taking care of one another. It’s a spectacle that would restore your faith in humanity. A testament to the goodness of people. So we wanted to give a little shout out to all the hearts of gold here in “the Good Life.”

There’s something different about Nebraskans. They cling to their values, and they’re people of great character and virtue. So it’s no surprise that, in the midst of all of this destruction, you aren’t hearing about businesses in their vulnerable state being looted or robbed. You aren’t hearing about people turning their backs on others or taking advantage of abandoned houses. You aren’t seeing locals turning against the police or hearing “every man for himself.”

Instead, you’re hearing stories of people giving endlessly to fellow humans in a time of need. You’re hearing stories of good samaritans going above and beyond, using their boats and machinery to rescue families from their homes. You’re hearing about grocery stores and restaurants donating bottled water and food for free. You’re hearing stories about the great lengths people have gone to to save one another and to save their animals. You’re hearing about a farmer who lost his life to try to help a complete stranger.

All around the state, you’ll find people helping people. Neighbors lending a hand. First responders, volunteers, friends, and family showing up for each other and for perfect strangers. Because that’s Nebraska. It’s heartwarming to see and heartwarming to be a part of. Just like the song says, “we stick together in all kinds of weather. There is no place like Nebraska.”

It’s true that “it’s not for everyone.” Because not everyone is tough enough for the frigid winters and scorching summers, not everyone is compassionate enough for it, self actualized enough for it, hard-working enough for it, patient enough for it, or just generally cut out for it. Not everyone sees beauty in simplicity. Not everyone is capable of slowing down and being present. Not everyone appreciates a way of life based on hard work, integrity, and meaningful relationships. But I think we kind of like it that way. I know I love that we’re a hidden gem. If everybody knew Nebraska was this great, we’d run out of room because everyone would want to be a part of something this special.

We can’t imagine what those who have been hit the hardest are feeling—they’re making frequent appearances in our prayers—but we’d imagine that if they had to go through this anywhere, they’re glad it’s in Nebraska.