This month I’m compelled to pause in prayerful reflection. I dedicate my sincere wishes for speedy restoration to those affected by the 2017 Hurricane season. My heart goes out to lives lost, both physically and metaphorically in recent weeks. The ruin and desolation is... beyond what one imagines. We bow our heads in prayer, wonder why and how, and offer helping hands in whatever ways possible.
I did a little reading on hurricanes. Hurricane season starts in June and runs through November. The height of the season occurs in September, with September 11th noted as the “climatological peak” of activity. I found that date rather interesting. Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are the same sort of event, usually distinguished by location. These storms are pre-named. Depending upon the ocean area, there are several sets of names - a set for each area and each year, sorted in alphabetic order (most do not include Q & U; the Atlantic avoids Y & Z as well). When a storm is notable, usually due to wreckage and loss of life, the name may be retired. Hurricanes typically develop over warm water. Due to circulating winds, they often leave behind what’s called a cold wake. Ocean temperature drops significantly (as low cold water mixes with warm water above). When a hurricane reaches land, it leaves a “cold wake” of destruction in its path instead.
Hurricanes are categorized in classes one through five based upon wind speed, five indicating the harshest of storms. Category one storms include sustained winds over 74 mph; category five wind gales exceed 156 mph. Personally, I experienced a category four event, witnessing and emoting through preparations, the event, and its aftermath. Hurricanes include torrential rains and swirling gusts of wind and pressure. Some of us may relate through experiences of inner turmoil, knowing the swirling feelings of great loss and despair, and the analogous drowning of hope.
As we know, Texas is recovering from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, while Florida braces for Irma. While we may feel helpless, many offer prayers, others financial support, while some are able to join recovery teams that travel on site. To all these I offer gratitude.
In the wake of loss that I’ve witnessed, I pray with vigor that new life and growth may eventually be born. We’ve heard the expression, “The calm before the storm.” I advocate an expression for “The aftereffects of opportunity and optimism.” Once the skies clear, we witness people coming together in their only commonality - humanity. People. People full of compassion, determination, hope, and goodwill.
As distributors of god’s peace and grace, put your gifts to the service of one another. The one who speaks is to deliver God’s message; those who serve, do so with God’s strength.
- 1 Peter 4:10-11
Unfortunately, (or some could argue, fortunately), this is often when we are at our best - as we support one another after a crisis. Divisions of race, creed, gender, class, geography, political affiliation, etc. simply disappear. Brothers and sisters united in a silent vow to rise above the devastation. We may not be able to control the weather, but we can make a difference in the way we handle the reconstruction of affected lives. We all react after tragedy: whether by offering resources, learning to value the small stuff in life, appreciating those close to us, or perhaps growing into acceptance and understanding of others (stubborn loved ones, insensitive friends, grouchy neighbors, annoying coworkers, even the frenzied, pushy stranger on the highway). Hardship, chaos, catastrophe… they leave their marks on land, across communities and in hearts.
Yesterday, someone alluded to signs for the end of time. Given [certain] current states of affair, I too have wondered, surmising that I’d not be surprised if such was forthcoming. Not just for obvious reasons of recent environmental and political debates, but for the lack of respect toward our fellow human beings. For example, while walking through a close-doored stairwell, I stopped and waited for three young men headed that way. I held the door and smiled at each as they passed. With heads down, avoiding eye contact, not one of them uttered a hello, offered a smile or remembered to say, thank you. I wasn’t annoyed for myself; I was sad for them. Did they even notice another person’s presence? I ponder… and fear our youngsters grow in soil of individualism, lacking old-fashioned principles of kindness, attentiveness, camaraderie, and polite manners… Nevertheless, we press forward...
God finds ways to move us past disaster. We resurrect wiser to value life, love, and charity. May we all find fresh, new ways to appreciate our lives, our talents, and our potential. May we find joy in everyday events. Let us live in the present, focusing less on hurtful pasts or with anxieties about uncertain futures. After all, we can worry and prepare, believing we’ve got “it” under control and then… Who in Texas only weeks ago imagined their life as they find it today?
Let us hug and smile and share and hold doors and be the best we can be - right now. Let us put forth goodness and kindness into the universe with positive karmas and bright auras. Maybe there is hope for us yet!
Put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience... forgiving one another… And over all these put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace dwell in your hearts... be thankful…
- Colossians 3:12-15
Lillian Corrigan uses writing to learn, inspire and encourage both others and herself. No stranger to devastating, life-altering hardship and loss, she's begun working as a motivational author.