A hurricane is coming. Irma is bearing down on the good (well, and bad I guess) folks of Florida. It may just be the strongest ever to come from the Atlantic. People are preparing the best way they know how. Stores are selling out of everything. Things that could fly away are being brought inside and things that could break are being fortified. Tanks are being filled, batteries are being charged, and prayers are being sent.
The reactions are diverse. Some are freaking out while others are poo poo’ing the whole thing. There are those who have been through it before and assume that they will prevail again. There are first timers who have already fled the region. Others yet are being affected by previous storms that bring back horrific memories.
Thoughts and prayers are coming in from all over the world…or at least the world of social media. Tips are being shared and encouragements are a plenty. Memes, videos, and scripture are being relayed to all in Irma’s path. While some are quickly reminded of the horrific damage of Hurricane Harvey, others yet point to the great ways that people (if not a nation) came together in some people’s darkest hour. There were pictures and videos of the best mankind has to offer. Certainly, all eyes will be watching, the media will make sure of that.
But not everyone will face this hurricane or any hurricane for that matter. I remember when the worst of the worst was happening during Harvey and I marveled at what a gorgeous day it was here in Pittsburgh. It blew my mind that at that exact moment others were fighting for their lives. I really have no fear of a hurricane ever truly effecting me here.
Figuratively speaking, though, I have faced a hurricane. Several actually. I wondered if my world was ending. I felt as if my world was crashing down around me and yet simultaneously being swept away from me. I wasn’t the same after the “storm” passed. Yes, their was much good that came from those tragedies. There were a lot of people who reached out to and helped me. Strangers from across the globe and folks from close by reacted to my plight and gave many things, not the least of which was hope.
We all have faced “hurricanes”…or are going to face them. In the literal case of Irma or Harvey the ability to reach out, love, comfort, and support is obvious. It isn’t mandatory or unanimous, but help is always offered by many. It is the figurative cases where the love is less. I was “blessed” with a very attention worthy hurricane in one of my storms (my son having and passing from cancer) and I didn’t shy away from that spotlight. However, I’ve had other turbulent times that went unnoticed or unannounced. I had to seek comfort, shelter, and guidance on my own. Some of my greatest hurts have been during those times when people either didn’t know of my pain or chose to minimize it. Whether they knew it or not, their words/actions hurt and left scars.
It is sunny today in Florida. All seems well. It is not. It will not be. Their is a hurricane coming. For many, all seems well today and it may be…it won’t continue to be, not forever. We won’t get a major network announcement that informs us that someone we know is experiencing the most trying time of their life. We may not know at all. Regardless, we need to treat people as if they are. We need to give the benefit of the doubt. Even before that we need to be involved in the lives of people so that they just might reach out to us when their storm hits. That way they just might trust enough to help them during their darkest day. When they do seek our comfort, love, and support in those times, we best realize it to be the honored blessing and responsibility that it is.