The past few weeks have felt like the most exhausting roller coaster. Emotions waiting for a hurricane felt like they were spiraling out of control. At some points Hurricane Irma was projected to barely affect my area here in Tampa, then as time went on, it was going to do major damage. The emotions from a hurricane felt like an internal hurricane!
There were moments of assurance that all was going to be fine, quickly followed by a feeling that we must all run for our lives and be prepared to lose a lot. Our emotions were not our own and were easily swayed by the projected line that Irma may or may not follow.
We learned a lot from these past couple of weeks. Not just about hurricane prepping- although I’m so thankful we know now! But we learned about the dangers of putting our hope in things that are always changing. We learned about the importance of making a decision and running with it rather than waffling in insecurity. We saw that more information does not speed up waiting. We learned to trust God and His sovereignty and that He is the only unchanging security we need.
In the midst of all the negative emotions that were stirred up in this hurricane ( mostly fear and indecision) there have been many positive emotions too:
Of course I have gratitude for the outcome of the hurricane not destroying my home and community, but the deeper gratitude is for the work God did in my heart through the process. I realized how much I take for granted everyday. I have more than enough. Many in this world don’t have anything near what I do. Just simple things like water, food, shelter, electricity, and gas are things I’ve always expected to be there. But when there is a shortage or a threat you won’t always have these things, you realize the gift you have and are thankful.
We didn’t know what would happen during the hurricane, but we did have faith that no matter what, we would be okay. Having an eternal focus is what helps my heart rest in this faith. This place is not my home forever, so even in the fear of losing it, I know there is a life I can’t even imagine waiting for me eternally. Placing my faith in things that are sure helps me quiet the insecurities of all that could have been lost.
Support from companions
The number of texts and emails from fellow Floridians and people across the country was refreshing. People were praying. Others were meeting needs. There were people who helped us not feel alone. Others offered encouraging words from scripture and worship songs. We were taken in and loved well when we left all but a carload behind. There is SO much research around the importance of companionship in this life. In these past couple weeks, I understood this gift in a very unique way.
Empathy from community
Trauma feels a little less traumatic when you feel understood. Knowing that others feel the way you do helps you not feel crazy. Most of us feel a hazy fog as we recover from the roller coaster of Irma. Neighbors and friends are checking in more and helping each other out. While so many of us in my area didn’t lose all our stuff, we see that relationships matter more. We all just went through something crazy together and we know how each other is feeling. Empathy through mutual trauma can bond you even more than you already were.
As much as I hope we never have to re-live the emotions from a hurricane like this again, I do trust that all the negative emotions can and will be balanced out with some positive ones like these.
Even if you don’t live in Florida, what are some emotions you felt before, during, and after Hurricane Irma?