Friday, September 22, 2017

After the Storm

Hurricane Irma passed over my house, and everything else in Central Florida. I’ve lived in the area all my life, so the experience was nothing new. I stayed in bed most of the night, stirring occasionally to the roar of a tornado. Each time, I thought if the fierce sound grew any louder I’d rouse my husband and we’d retreat to the closet. But then the howling would die down, allowing restless slumber to return.

Sleep the following night was even more difficult because, well, Floridians have a strong attachment to air conditioning. My particular rural community endured only four days and nights with no electricity. Others waited longer. Still others farther south lost everything. And now there’s somebody named Maria out there doing her hurricane dance in the ocean. She won’t come here, but other places have met her devastation.

During the post-storm days, I found it hard not to focus on the trivial. Stores, if open, were missing essentials. I couldn’t charge my laptop. I had to sit in the car wasting precious gas to charge my phone. Our large generator that we just got serviced wouldn’t do a blasted thing. I couldn’t post to my blog on my regular day. With the approaching release date of my latest novel, the locals who’d agreed to read a digital copy and write a review were not able to do so because they didn’t have any power either. Poor me and poor imaginary Chase Sterling (the protagonist in Transfusion).

Of course, more important things soon grabbed my attention. Like the elderly dying in a nursing home that lost power, and families stranded with no food or water. And all those people still suffering in Houston due to this hurricane season’s first major performance. As inconvenient as life was for a few days, my trials were less dire than those of others. Things will soon get back to normal here. For that, I’m grateful. I’m thankful my family and friends are all safe, and I pray for those who suffered the greater wrath of Irma. And Harvey. And Maria. Some people’s lives will never be the same.

All kinds of storms alter our lives. Some disruptions make it harder to get back to whatever kept us feeling comfortable and safe before the hurricane. Or the illness. The accident. The failure. The unimaginable loss. The more intense the storm, the greater the adjustment to the new normal. Even so, God can calm the waves and wind, and He will never leave His children to face the storm—any storm— on their own.

Today my computer is fully charged. The A/C is running. The sun is shining. My neighbor is gathering palm fronds and broken branches into a burn pile. Our own burn pile—the second one we’ve gathered —waits for a match to light it. But my husband has gone off to work and I’m writing for the first time in two weeks. (Prep-work and anticipation before the hurricane drained my brain of all things literary.) So the burn pile can tower at the back of our property for a day or two. A reminder that things are not quite normal…but close enough.

When the next storm hits, whether it’s a hurricane or some other event, we can rest in the loving shelter of the Master of the sea. He knows what we’re facing and He’s right there with us.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

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