Hurricane Ida has been the buzz around my circle of people seeing as how most of my people are in Florida. I've heard news of school closings, road closings, and even learned that my favorite meteorologist has left town. I've been wondering if we here at the Fidler Academy of Higher Learning should maybe take a day or two off just to sympathize with our beloved Floridians. :)
You see, growing up in Florida hurricane season is just like football season or Thanksgiving or Christmas. You just know it is coming. My family has been so blessed that in the 21 years (OH MY GOSH I have gotten old!!!) of Florida living, none of us have ever experienced any major home damage, physical injuries or even loss of electricity for extended periods of time. In fact, today I began reminiscing about hurricane season and it even made me smile.
The first hurricane I really remember well was Hurricane Opal in 1995. My dad was a nursing home administrator and just like the captain of a ship he had to be on board in case the whole thing sunk. So, we all packed up and headed for the nursing home. We had a candlelit dinner in the cafeteria and even had someone who played the piano to entertain us as we ate. I believe we were standing outside watching the storm as it hit Panama City. We spent the night in my dad's office. It was actually really fun!
Another hurricane (that I can't even remember the name of) threatened one day while I was in high school. We were let out early. I obviously was not a parent yet (or even a thinking person) because my friends and I took advantage of being let out of school early and loaded up in the car and headed out to have lunch. Without calling to tell our parents. Oops....
My all time favorite hurricane story has to be that of Hurricane Ivan. I was six weeks pregnant with Eli and honestly just hearing the name "Ivan" makes me want to puke. Sorry if that is TMI, but anyone who has ever been six weeks pregnant knows what I am talking about. I was sick and EXHAUSTED. I laid my pregnant self on the couch and informed Josh that I would not be leaving that couch unless Ivan himself came and carried me away. Josh started putting masking tape on the windows (seriously, does that make anybody else feel better?) and I....laid on the couch and did nothing. A few minutes after Josh started taping the windows my mom called and said that she had just heard a report that a tornado was going down the street behind us. I don't do tornadoes y'all! So, I miraculously found the strength and energy to peel myself away from the couch and informed Josh that NOW we would be leaving. Because, y'know, when the tornadoes are out is really the best time to evacuate. (This statement is not backed by FEMA or any person with a lick of sense.)
So, we gathered our 2 year old and our belongings and hit the road. I made a huge mess pulling out pictures and other valuables that I think I put on the bed in case of flooding. Praise the LORD it did not flood, because, wow, I was an idiot. Anyway, I am also now having guilt because I think we left our cocker spaniel, Abby, by herself. Okay, back to the story.
We made it to my parent's house which they had been wise enough to board up. We spent an eternity listening to weather reports. My not yet, but soon to be brother in law Dillon was boarded up in a house with our family. He did not run away after that experience, so I decided he must be serious. :) I would tell you what we did, but I have no clue. I quickly made it to my parent's couch and settled my lazy self there. The next morning I learned that everyone else had been up all night dealing with tornado warnings. I had slept like a baby. I am assuming someone took care of Sarah Beth because she was there the next morning. It was the morning after that I will really never forget. There are six words: NO AIR CONDITIONER AND VIENNA SAUSAGES. We were boarded up in a hot house, Sarah Beth ate a hurricane season's worth of vienna sausages and then people took turns spinning her in my dad's office chair to entertain her. Oh. My. Gosh. I had only wanted to puke for the last 24 hours. Sarah actually did. Fun times, y'all, fun times.
That little adventure finally came to an end when we learned that there was one Sonic open in town. Food! Real food! We got real food, Josh and I headed home where we had electricity and a dog and huge mess waiting for us. The end. :)
These stories, for some unknown reason, have stayed with me. Much like the times in my life when I have gone through spiritual and emotional storms. At the time, these storms were inconvenient, uncomfortable, and at times threatening. The same is true of the personal storms we encounter. But today, as we approach Thanksgiving and reflect on the things we are thankful for, I can honestly say I am thankful for the storms in my life. I am thankful for the lessons learned. I am thankful for the knowledge gained. I am thankful to be able to see some humor and to also realize that they weren't as bad as I had remembered. I am thankful that hurricane season is a season. Sometimes it feels like storms will take over and you will never see the sun again, but you will. It is just a season.
In the same way we know every year that hurricane season will come, we can rest assured that personal storms will loom on the horizon. For some reason we forget that and seem to go into shock as if they snuck up like a flash flood. But God's Word tells us "Dear friends, when the fiery ordeal arises among you to test you, don't be surprised by it, as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah rejoice, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory." 1 Peter 4:12-13.
No one is surprised when hurricanes come during hurricane season. We don't ever know the strength, the direction or even the time of the storm, but we know they are coming. Likewise, we know as believers, and honestly just as humans, that we will face storms. God says rejoice in it! The storms teach us, prepare us, and make us oh so thankful for the sunny times. Not only that, but they bond us together. Like my family boarded up eating vienna sausages. :)
For more weather info. check out my friend Amber's new blog.