I’ve loved storms since I was a little girl. I’ve never been bothered by bursts of thunder and strobes of lightning.
I enjoy angry skies.
Not everyone does. I’ve got friends who hide in their family room with the TV turned up so they don’t have to hear storms. We had a dog once that cowered under anything he could fit beneath, trembling because of the cacophony of thunder and lightning together.
We get our fair share of storms in Florida. We’ve seasons where daily precipitation shows up long enough to make the atmosphere miserably humid and lightning appears sporadically to necessitate postponed soccer games for the requisite thirty minutes since the last close bolt.
Lost time. Muddy uniforms. Gross, smelly shoes. Annoyances.
They’re also the providers of puddles, the sustainers of splashing and the makers of mud. Necessary tools for being reminded of the kid that still remains in all of us.
Matthew is a different breed. A hurricane that has morphed up and down the scale of severity, it’s done serious damage to Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Cuba. At least 20 people are dead. It’s expected to grow stronger as it approaches the U.S.–there’s no land in it’s way to slow it down.
There is a certain majesty in such power and ferocity. Matthew may hit Florida as a category 4 hurricane–wind speeds up to 156 mph. Maybe worse. Power greater than I can grasp.
It’s human nature to try and corral powerful things and use them for our benefit. Taming a wild horse. Solar panels and wind turbines to harness forces of nature that are persistent and strong.
We can’t do anything about hurricanes. We can plot their supposed path. Watch their progress. Prepare ourselves with supplies should we be affected by damage they cause. Get out of their way.
And show up to help those who’ve been affected by the damage they cause.
Control it? Minimize it? That won’t happen. We’re at the mercy of such a storm.
Life produces storms like that for each of us. Circumstances over which we have no control. Times when everything we thought we held together breaks into a million pieces like shards of a shattered mirror. And we’re left standing in broken glass.
Twelve years ago Hurricane Charlie flew through Orlando, ripping up trees, spawning tornadoes, cutting power to a multitude of homes. We sat it out, hearing objects hit the house. Listening to wind that sounded like screams.
There was a lot of devastation. People reached out to others to help where they could. Neighbors helped neighbors they’d never gotten to know. Communities pulled together to help those who were hurting.
Bridges were built because of the storm.
God showed up with skin on. Loving. Encouraging. Coming alongside hurting folks.
Storms will happen. We can’t control them. We can respond with compassion and generous hearts to those who are afraid or hurting.
Because at some point we’ll all be in the center of the storm. Needing help. Needing hope.
Needing God with skin on.