Wednesday, September 6, 2017

     When thinking about what I'd take with me, if I had to evacuate our home in fear of Hurricane Irma, I didn't hesitate on certain items that would fit in my pocket. The first of these is this bear. This cute little guy is over 100 years old. He sat on my father's shelf for years, and I remember being told to treat him gently. I have no idea if he came from France or Belgium, a gift from "Odette," his lover there, or whether he brought him to my mom. No matter. He is a fond, gentle memory of my beloved father. This little guy sits on my desk, and he is my father's spirit reminding me daily not to "spin your wheels," and if I'm upset, "Get busy." Well, I'm upset, and I'm busy trying to figure out how I will survive the first hurricane of the season. I am not alone. There are millions doing what I'm doing,  probably without the counsel of a furry friend. My prayers go out to all of them, particularly those along the water's edge where I always thought I'd love to live. Nope, not anymore.

     Never having to think about the whole evacuation question, this has been a real eye-opener for me. What do you take? How do you protect what you don't? Where do you go? How long will it take with thousands of cars on the road? How long do you stay? Who watches your house while you're gone?
How do you keep your spirits up when your whole world is being swung around in every-decreasing circles until there's nothing left of it?

      It begs the question:  Why worry? Will worry help? No. Did worry ever lessen a burden or prevent a crisis? No. There are three days before the hurricane is supposed to hit. Will I worry for all three days? Fret and stew and pray and pace? Or will I enjoy every minute of every day until then, but of course getting prepared for the onslaught. I would like to tell you I celebrate every minute of every day, as I know how precious life is. But that would be a lie. Sometimes, I fret, stew, pout and cry. Sometimes I waste precious hours doing nothing. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself and forget about all those who are suffering from real problems instead of the ones I occasionally manufacture for myself. I admit in advance, I will probably feel sorry for myself while I'm stuffing things into my pockets.

      The bottom line is that when a natural disaster threatens, suddenly everything shrinks into a tiny bubble. Nothing matters but survival. Survival of the self and all others within reach. Small problems disappear as crisis descends. Suddenly, it's not just ourselves; it's our fellow man--our neighbor, our postman, our grocer, the hair stylist, our realtor, and, of course, our family and friends. We all become ONE against the elements of nature over which we have no control and certainly no power. We become 100% defensive, and we make quick decisions based on our gut.

     My gut says, "Take the little bear. Take the flag in the triangle box, the pictures of the grand-children, the wedding album, my piano books, my diplomas, my Dad's letters to my Mom from WWII." The only things that really matter are those with history and sentiment that can't be replaced.
Well, one exception:  the molasses cookies.

     Prayers for everyone's safety. Prayers for those still reeling from the destruction in Houston. Prayers for those along Irma's path who we don't even know about yet. I pray for strength to endure it all and come out a better person.