Irma is heading for Florida. With more than a little attitude.
We’ve watched Texas and Louisiana weather the effects of Harvey. Saw the pictures of the devastation and heard the stories of bravery as people reached out to help those who’ve lost so much.
Harvey’s big sister, Irma, is supposed to hit us sometime this weekend. She’s a category 5 hurricane now, with winds of 185 mph.The thinking is she’ll reduce to category 4 by the time she makes landfall in southern Florida.
I hadn’t thought much about the storm or preparing for it. We’ve lived through Charley, which came up I-4 thirteen years ago, fast and furious, spawning a lot of tornadoes and damage. We’ve had Francis, Ivan, Jeanne, and Wilma in years past. Last year we narrowly avoided Matthew when he lurched east enough for us to avoid major rainfall and wind.
In part because of Harvey, Floridians are taking Irma seriously. We grocery shopped on Monday, and as we checked out, the cashier asked if we were getting any water. I innocently asked why. With raised eyebrows, all he said was, “Irma.”
I haven’t been watching the news. Without context, I didn’t get water.
Now you can’t.
People are lining up in parking lots for palettes of water to be unloaded, grabbing as quickly as it leaves the truck. Bread is nonexistent in most places. Flashlights are becoming difficult to find.
I think we’ve got some of those. I just need to find batteries.
Preparations run the gamut from water and granola bars to plywood cut to cover windows.
We don’t have plywood. But I’ve got extra bread and peanut butter.
Since Irma is one of the strongest hurricanes on record, our governor has called for mandatory evacuation of southern parts of the state. Our daughter and her family drove up from Miami, not wanting to ride out a hurricane with a not quite two-year-old.
Businesses and schools will close. Kids will have unplanned vacation time. If power goes out, families will rediscover board games.
Preparing for the inner storm I don’t see coming is tough.
I throw around storm terms because I live here. But I’ve experienced internal storms my whole life. Tropical depressions all the way to category 5 hurricanes. Inside. When crisis hits, I panic because I don’t know what to do and there’s no plan in place. No one’s there to help. I’m tossed around by the winds of problems and rip currents of emotion that undermine my thinking and my identity. I become fearful of what I don’t know and dread what may come next.
Jesus is the calm in the midst of my storms. He doesn’t make the problems go away. He helps me deal with them. Prepares me for them. Strengthens me through them.
Preparing for Irma is the best I can do to get through this. With no idea what it will look like, I need to be ready for the worst
For my inner storms, Jesus gives me the all I need to ride out the gale force winds of life.
That’s a recovery promise I can live with.