Though, as a Floridian, I’ve lived through probably dozens of hurricanes, this season has been one for the books--and has marked the first time that my life and home were significantly impacted by a storm. Two weeks afterward, though, I’m nearly back to normal--and able to look at those events with a fresh perspective. Here are just a few of the things that Irma taught me in these past few weeks.
Natural disasters have a way of showing us our humanity--there’s not much we can do when they strike besides prepare, pray, and do our best to recover and help each other out when it’s over. Encountering shocking photos and reports of flooding from spots just steps from my home, I had no choice but to pray and be thankful that my puppy, myself and my loved ones were safe.
ACCEPTING/ASKING FOR HELP
This isn’t a quality that comes naturally to me, but sometimes there’s not a choice. I encountered acts of kindness that I’ll never forget, from the employee at a South Carolina Chick-fil-a who brewed me a fresh pot of coffee five minutes before closing, to my sister and brother-in-law who sheltered me for nearly two weeks, to my landlord hanging my soaking-wet clothing and shoes all around her own house to keep them from being ruined, to my Dad driving three hours to Jacksonville to help with an hour or two of yardwork. It’s deeply moving to know that these people didn’t think twice about helping out--and something to remember, as sometimes small gestures can leave a big impact.
When your home is damaged in a storm, it’s inevitable that material things will be lost--while I was fortunate to have a relatively small amount of flooding and damage to my home, I joined my neighbors in leaving a good deal of my possessions in a heap on the curb. It’s been a freeing reminder that life is about so much more than stuff...and that things like a roof over my head, a sunny day, and a cold refrigerator are gifts to be cherished (not to mention loving and supportive family and friends).
I heard it said somewhere that these storms have brought the worst of mother nature, but brought out the best of humanity. I’ve already witnessed neighbors helping each other out, made friends with passers-by asking how my home fared in the storm, and seen my neighborhood come together to support each other--both residents and small businesses. While I’ve hardly been here for three months, it’s already given me hope in a world that seems riddled with tragedy!