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