My heart is heavy today and I feel the need to get this off my chest. It’s just my opinion and how I am feeling this week. Tune in next week for lighter thoughts.
This past week has been a long stressful time for us here on the East Coast. As Hurricane Irma made its way across the Atlantic we all stood in horror as it grew larger and stronger by the day. Everyone in the country said prayers and sent out good wishes and helped in any way we all could. Thankfully, it is gone now and it is time to rebuilt all those islands and areas that are totally devastated. Here in Florida people are still without electricity and are just now allowed to come back to their homes to evaluate the aftermath of Irma.
We live in the Central Florida region of Orlando. We always thought we were a little safer than those on either coast because we weren’t right ON the water. But until this storm hit, I never really thought about the fact that in 45 minutes either way, we are on the water. that really is not that far in relation to a hurricane. The reality of that set in on Saturday night watching the news. The weather man said that Florida is only around 100 miles across and that Irma was 450 miles wide. Chad and I looked at each other and my heart sank.
During times of natural disasters is when we all are brought to our knees with the frailty of human life. How it can be taken away at a moments notice and how helpless we can feel when things happen beyond our control. This was brought to the forefront recently with Hurricane Harvey. The devastation in Houston is still happening. There are people who lost everything including loved ones who couldn’t get out fast enough. I found the depth of my sorrow while watching the news overwhelming. It became hard to swallow at times. Tedious, mundane things became trivial in relation to losing loved ones and everything you worked your entire life for gone in a blink of an eye.
The human Spirit knows no boundary
Days after Hurricane Harvey millions of people and companies picked up and did whatever they could do. Everyday superheroes were born. We were all just helping another human being. We all felt their pain. Food drives from around the country were happening as well as, small and large companies giving profits to help those in need. These are still going on now as I write this. There is so much damage and so much that still needs to be done.
This brings me to Hurricane Irma. After we cleared off the front porch and back lanai, my husband and I were in a panic about the new house we had just built. What would happen if Irma were to steer West (which she ended up doing) and wreck our house? What if we were in danger? We have three children and how would we be able to protect them? I think that, at the heart of it, is the most terrifying thought for any parent to have. It can cripple you if you let it. Those precious babies that we bring into this world BECOME our whole world. Just the thought of anything happening to them is too much to even think about.
We prepared as best we could. The fact that we were not in an evacuation area, and the roads were already packed with people from the Miami region trying to make their way further north, we decided it was best just to stay home. We put our two youngest in a beanbag filled, sleeping bag and blanket cocoon in my closet. Our eldest would sleep in her bean bag in Chad’s closet. There are no windows and these are interior walls so they would be safest. Chad and I set up camp in our bathroom. Our bathroom has our closets in it also so we were steps away from our children. We brought in an air mattress and we were as ready as we were going to get last Sunday night.
As we all know now, Irma ripped through the Caribbean at a Category 5 storm. Demolishing everything in her path. By the time she landed in Key West she was downgraded to Category 4 and from there it went down to a Tropical Storm before it hit just west of Orlando. The flooding and power outages are still going on here in our state. Over 70 percent of Orlando lost power that night. Our house was not one of them. We were safe inside the house watching and hearing the roars of the wind outside. Each of us saying a prayer for others who might not be so fortunate.
We ended up with no flood damage and just the screens in the pool area torn off. We were one of the fortunate ones. There are millions of people who do not even have safe drinking water or a place to call home right now. Trees through their roof or flooding so bad that everything is lost. Schools and businesses have been closed due to power outages and damage. As of Wednesday, over 66 schools here in Orlando were still without power. I have had friends that just got their power back on today.
After all the branches are cleared and the water goes down, we will all do what we can to rebuild. Just like with Sandy, Katrina and Andrew. we pick up the pieces and move forward. Our hearts will heal and we will rebuild homes and lives once again. The human ability to rebuild and move forward is a beautiful thing to witness. There will be tears of joy and tears of pain, but we all grow a little and it brings us all closer together. And for that I am thankful.
I snapped this picture Monday afternoon while we were checking up on neighbors and accessing our own house. It was spectacular to see the beautiful rainbow and be reminded of God’s promise.