So many thoughts ran through my head in the days leading up to Irma's arrival. The overwhelming debate was over to stay or go. No evacuation order had been given, but I also didn't want to wait until one was for fear of not having enough time to leave. It was like a ping-pong match in my head as I monitored the storm's path on CNN. As great as technology is, I knew that Mother Nature had her own prerogative to do whatever she saw fit to do.
I decided that we would stay. As much as I was hoping and praying that Irma would bypass Atlanta completely, I still had to act responsibly. My son was depending on me. I followed the hurricane preparation guidelines to the letter. The bathtub was filled with water, I put ziplock bags of water in the freezer, and my cupboard was fully stocked. I even had 2 bags packed just in case there was a last minute evacuation order. Irma's impact on my family, life, and home were totally out of my control. It gave me some peace knowing that I was doing all that I could do in advance of her arrival. On the other hand, it didn't feel like it was enough. I mean outside of having storm shutters on our windows and a boat (which we didn't have), it all felt like I was simply bracing for a beat down instead of putting up my fists to fight for my life.
Although the storm was unplanned and unwanted, it brought with it several gifts. No parent wants their child to ever have to go without anything. However, it was good for my son to experience this small taste of lack so that he could appreciate all of the fortune that surrounds him on a daily basis. My son and I are extremely close, but Irma allowed us to reconnect on another level. I think this time together was made even more special because his birthday was just 2 weeks away. These eight years have passed by much faster than I could have ever imagined.
It is my sincere prayer that I was able to impart valuable life lessons in my son during the storm that will serve him well throughout his life. Such as:
- You will encounter storms in life. Control what you can control and surrender the rest to God
- Despite how bad it looks you are cloaked with divine protection and God is always with you.
- Call upon your spiritual team for help
- Expect a miracle to happen
- Believe with every fiber of your being that you will make through to the other side of the storm wiser and better than you were before.
- Visualize the outcome that you desire instead of focusing on fear
- There’s always someone that is experiencing greater challenges, so be grateful for your journey
- Look for the good in every seemingly bad situation
- You are stronger than you realize
- It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t allow it to overtake your spirit
- Family is the most important thing!
- Value human life and relationships more than material objects. People cannot be replaced.
- Your prayers are always heard and answered in divine time.
- Everything is always in divine order
I'm grateful to Irma because I know that she was necessary in the grand scheme of God's plan to work everything out for our highest and best good. Yet, my heart still hurts for all of those that experienced great suffering as a result of Irma. On a positive note, she caused people in this time of division to overlook their differences. People simply came together to help one another. Irma left a path of destruction in her wake in the U.S. and abroad, but she ultimately created space for new positive energy and creativity to bloom.
There will always be storms in life - both emotional and physical. They occur to help us let go and rediscover what really matters. No matter how intense the storm is you can always choose to have peace in the middle of it.
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