Last weekend I experienced the “initiation” into being a true Floridian: bracing for the impending path of a hurricane. Hurricane Irma hit the Tampa area last Sunday night, and needless to say, last week and this week have been completely consumed with hurricane related things (and rightly so).
Last week was all about preparing for the storm, especially when the eye took a turn westward and was supposed to pass directly over Tampa at a possible Category 4. Questions of “do we or do we not evacuate?” and “whose house will be the safest?” were addressed and thankfully, we had grabbed some water bottles at the store before the rush for non-perishables at the end of the week.
Strange as it seems, it was kind of thrilling to prepare for a natural disaster. I’ve seen a post floating around social media this week about the blessings that came from Irma and that’s exactly what we were trying to focus on before the storm came.
Growing up in Kentucky I remember getting extremely scared about tornados. At the first sign of just a tornado watch, I would rush upstairs to my bedroom and pack up a suitcase full of everything deemed the most important items I possessed. Then I’d rush down to the basement and curl up in a corner, begging everyone else to get downstairs too. Well, before going over to my parents’ place on Saturday, I certainly packed up my duffle bag and put some of my most treasured items in a safe place in my apartment but there was a strange sense of calm. Even if the storm had hit as a Category 4 and all the windows had been blown out from debris, or somehow my possessions were ruined, the thing we all kept reminding each other was that we have our family and as long as we’re all together, it’s okay.
Perhaps that’s something that comes with getting a little older; you start to feel less connected to stuff and more connected to the things that actually matter because you start to understand how transitionary, replaceable, and temporary, those material things truly are. Even beyond that, it’s a reminder that our lives are temporary and that brings it even harder home.
Bella liked our hurricane set-up–
Processed with VSCO with b2 preset
Processed with VSCO with b2 preset
I had to include a picture of our dog Bella cause she was so cute even though she was extremely scared.
This week has been about recovery. My Grandpa had to evacuate from the Clearwater area, so after the storm, we went over to see how things faired. There was a ton of debris in his yard and one tree fell and damaged part of his backyard fence, but there wasn’t any damage to the house itself. With some chainsaw action, sweat, and lots of water breaks, his yard is back in shape.
Right here in Tampa there has been some sad tragedy from this storm, fires and flooding, and those things cannot be overlooked, but compared to what the impact could have been, many prayers were answered for Tampa. There are a lot of families in areas off the coast and in the south of Florida, like in Cuba and the Keys, who have lost everything. We even know of some families up in Jacksonville who have suffered major unexpected damage to their homes. Just as for those in Texas who endured Harvey, it is rather amazing to see the way communities, states, and countries, come together to face unprecedented challenges.
Why does it seem so hard to find this sense of community and moral obligation without the tragedy of something such as a natural disaster? As we all get back in the swing of our regular routines, maybe this will stick with people for a while.
As you’ve noticed, my blog plans for September sank a little lower on my priority list the past few weeks and ended up under personal obligations, family, hurricane, and safety. Therefore, my original plan to consistently begin posting a new blog post every Monday will start this coming Monday.
Blogging is fun because it’s a journey. I’m not the most experienced at anything at this point because my journey is just beginning, but that’s what makes things so exciting (or so that’s what we tell ourselves). Some very unexpected things, on multiple levels, have happened since the beginning of this month. In a lot of ways, I feel like I’m back at square one. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, right? After the storm, things renew, re-grow, and become stronger than before. So I’m channeling my energy toward renewal and praying for growth to follow.
Just a few of the things in store for the next couple months…