I need to digress today. We have just dealt with Hurricane Irma who was a terrifying storm covering ALL of Florida. I mean all. Our peninsula is about 200 miles wide, maybe a little more at some points. This storm was estimated to be 400 miles wide so there was little escape for us.
The four days leading up to our hit, was worse than what we endured; made terrifying by social media and the news. By the time it reached Miami, we were exhausted and then had to deal with the ACTUAL storm battering our home.
My daughter, a woman of invention, created an Irma Check In group, for our family, on Facebook. Our Florida family occupies Dade, Broward and Orange Counties which means we were point blank in its path. None of us decided to vacate which may have been stupid. At first, we anticipated a hit on our east coast of the peninsula. Then Irma decided to go west to the Carib side. She did enough damage to Miami, Key West and our outlying keys, then traveled a while flooding her way to the center of the state. Meteorologists were duped! Finally, Irma made a beeline for Orlando. YIKES!
At first we said, “No God,no”! Listening to to wind was horrible, especially without electricity, which amplifies the sounds in our minds, when we are in the dark. Then we had tornado warnings. and were told to take cover. Exhausted, but hyped on adrenalin, we gathered all our sofa cushions, pillows and the dog and hunkered down in our bedroom hallway.
FINALLY, one hundred year later (it seemed like) dawn came and we timidly assessed damage. Roof still on, check. Windows not blown out, check. No flooding, check. Outside our home, uh O. Debris was everywhere including my neighbor’s gazebo upside down in my yard. Our Tulip tree by the road split down the trunk, gone and cleanup needed. Backyard? My beloved Loquat tree, the only tree left in the yard for shade, was down. (We had lost the Orange tree to Charlie.) O.K, we can deal with that, and try to restore it. Fence intact?, check. Fence gate down but fixable. Porch, which is my “prayer room”, undamaged even though the Loquat tree fell over on it. Miracle! Breathe. Breathe.
What was in our favor with Irma was that it DID head straight up over land and downgraded the wind speed from a Cat 4 to Cat 1. Floridians know that we can survive a CAT 1, as we have time and time again. So we breathed a sigh of relief when the stats told us there were no deaths, save for a family that took their generator inside their house despite all the numerous warnings. Mainly, Florida survived. We thanked God for His hand over us and directing Irma straight at Orlando. Actually, this is the grace saved us.
Which leads me to state a spiritual lesson… sometimes we have to confront a threat that comes at us and look it in the eye and say, NO! You don’t scare me anymore. When Irma headed straight for us, it was terrifying but we remained strong and refused to give in. Most heartwarming was watching TV when electricity was restored, and seeing Americans helping Americans, our neighbors helping an 80 yr. old woman who had evacuated and didn’t even know about losing part of her roof. Neighbors climbed up and sealed it up with roofing paper and tarps so it would not damage the inside. Neighbors were lending a hand wherever we could.
What came out of this? Humanity and beauty no matter what color, ethnic background or religious belief we hold, we care and are Human and Americans. I am so proud to be one of them!