Yesterday was a day filled with possibilities and a strong potential for bad. While sadly there were many areas that were hit hard, I am thankful that we were not.
The first miracle yesterday was my son managing to leave early for his trip to Alabama. He had put off doing things like taking his clean clothes to the camper and filling the clean water tank. I did go out and help get the camper hooked up and do his pretrip check of making sure all lights were working and tires inflated properly. He checked the tires, I did the “Yep, lights are working”. I made him promise to call me often, got a hug and watched him pull away. All through a light, intermittent, falling rain.
I then came in and waited for my mother to call, which came moments after my son’s leaving. There is no missing the sounds his car makes, so she knew exactly when he left. We had our usual conversation and then I told her, several times, that every time my son called me, I would call her. She’s a worrier and has taught me well. Even though my son will at times, tell me I’ve surpassed the master.
After the call, I finished my own preparations for what could possibly come as the storm approached. A storm that was following eerily close to the track of Hurricane Hugo. I wasn’t alone when Hugo came through and I don’t recall being deeply afraid, as I alternately paced the floor peering out windows at the storm and then back to check on my infant son. Who slept through the entire storm. For Ian, I was going to be in the house alone, with a grumpy dog and a scared dog. At one point I did go outside and give the colony enough food that I thought they could finish before it became rain soaked. After they ate, I didn’t see them any more for the rest of the day. Smart cats. I did notice though that my son’s favorite of the colony was nowhere to be seen. He had somehow injured a back leg the day before and not moving much until he went somewhere to rest and heal up.
I then did something that is against my every rule of being home alone. I asked for prayers for my son on his trip. Something I would not have done but for the fact he was dragging that camper through high wind gusts and rain. Not that I’m a big deal in the online world, but it was my policy to not let many know I was here alone, with the dogs and..but I did, because of the circumstances. Many people responded to my request for which I am very grateful.
With everything that I could do accomplished, all that was left was sit here and wait.
The rain fell almost all day, varying in intensity. The winds, which was what worried me most, did the same. I would sit here trying to distract myself but would hear the winds intensity change. Looking out the windows I watched as the trees out back would swing and sway crazily. Acorns fell almost without ceasing and occasionally I would hear a limb come crashing down. Thankfully none of them were overly large. I will need to get the ladder and go up and check the roof but it needs to dry out a bit first.
My son and I have the life360 app on our phones. He hates it, accusing me of checking up on him which I don’t. But when he goes out on a journey alone, I do. I did check periodically to see his progress. I knew once he made it out of South Carolina he was in the clear. Though I did still check to see where he was for those times when my own mother would call asking.
I had the television on to keep up with weather reports on the storm. I saw early that the harder rain would reach us around noon. It was recommended if there was anything you needed to go out for, do it before then. I had nothing, so I was going nowhere if I could help it. The worst of the storm would arrive around four in the afternoon and hang around until ten or eleven. I was seeing the images, hearing the reports, I was trying to remain calm, even as my stress levels rose.
The human mind, is an amazing, incredible thing. It keeps the body functioning. It works the fight or flight button. With it we learn what we need to know to live, work and play. But for some of us, it has this unusually high anxiety mode that takes minor things and makes them major. It takes any situation and amplifies the possible bad results to the point the potential for good is not only overshadowed but buried. Add any level of post traumatic stress and you are facing a nightmare struggle. Hurricane Hugo had left me with a terror of high winds to the point that when the wind picked up in the slightest I was turning radios up loud to cover the sound and finding somewhere to hunker down where I felt safe.Thirty-three years later I have faced that and while I no longer go into hiding, I still hold concerns of the higher winds. Because I do know what they can cause. So I watched the trees and prayed the remained upright. I was also very glad that we had gotten rid of the big tree out front before this came along.
The second miracle. When my son called to let me know they had arrived I was relieved. They had little problems, that he admitted to, and were ready to get the camper set up. He did however tease me about how the weather was amazing there and asked exactly what I was dealing with here. He called one more time later, I know he was in a restaurant somewhere, just to check in and tease a bit more. Not cruel, I think it was also a way to make sure I was okay without admitting he was checking to make sure I was okay.
So I sat up until eleven last night. I watched various documentaries and old reruns. I listened to the rain and winds, even as it was too dark to see outside, I kept vigilant and ready. I wanted to be up in case there were any issues down at my parent’s place.
The third miracle, we never lost electricity or anything else. The storm was nowhere near as intense or dangerous as my mind built it up to be. As far as I have seen so far without doing a walk around, no trees fell here. The worst of the winds were on the eastern side of the track, away from us. I know that others did deal with issues from the storm where power or other services were lost. I know that trees did come down. But right here, we were safe and we are well.
My son has on a couple of occasions made a comment where he felt as if he was baby sitting me. (yes, that hurts) Yesterday and into last night, it was proven that I don’t need his babysitting. I had the almighty hand of God protecting us here, keeping us safe and sheltered from harm.
Even as I am so very grateful, I know that there are many others who are dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Florida was hit very hard, parts of it lies in ruin. Areas of South Carolina suffered from the storm that returned to hurricane strength. Laying a path of destruction in its wake. Today, people are looking at what is left, the work that is ahead of them, facing the reality that is nature’s power.
For those of us seeing the reports of the destruction and wishing to help in some way, it is important that we take care. There are many out there who will readily take advantage of a caring heart. Do your research before blindly giving your hard earned money to an organization. This link offers ways to check on those seeking donations. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-tell-if-a-charity_b_9806518
One of the things that always happens, is that there will be those who collect not money, but needed items. Unless you know those collecting, do your research or donate to a group you know. Don’t allow a compassionate heart to overpower a cautious mind.
If possible and needed, help your neighbor. Clear away the debris, sweep out the mud, get your hands dirty and muscles sore. We may not always like each other, but when disaster strikes, we step up and help each other. I know there will be a call for people to go into areas worst hit to help with the clean up and then the rebuilding. You may not be able to swing a hammer, but handing out food to the hungry is also needed.
There is also, more importantly, the power of prayer. Seeking help and strength for those in need. Offering gratitude for those who made it with little or no problems. The greatest miracle, being able to show love and compassion in a time of need.