Hissy Fit - November 2016
Well, it seems I’m not the only one who can pitch a good hissy fit. Hurricane Matthew threw a hissy fit we will not soon forget. While each of us would like to pummel him back and give him a piece of our minds, we know it’s impossible to win against Mother Nature. As much beauty as she provides, she also has the power to take it all away.
It would be easy to let the wrath of Matthew turn us bitter, fearful and angry. However, those emotions will not change or help anything. What’s done is done and the only thing left to do is march forward.
Moving on doesn’t have to be negative, exhausting or filled with complaints. It’s up to you how you approach the entire situation. I have a favorite quote that I’ve shared numerous times—“Change your attitude, change your world.” In other words, if you look at this as a horrible loss, it is. If you look at this as a chance to rebuild, it is. It’s completely up to you to choose what kind of experience you want to have in picking up the pieces and making sense of them.
On the Sunday after the storm, I learned my house had been hit hard and was uninhabitable. I cried and felt helpless. I didn’t see the extent of the damage until Tuesday when I returned home. It was unbelievable. Not just my house, but so many others. I was shell-shocked from the damage and loss. However, we were safe and our spirits were still in tact. We went to work to start making sense out of the chaos, having no clue the blessings that were already in the works and on their way.
I have never experienced such a sense of community like I did in the aftermath of Matthew, whose winds brought destruction, but also delivered a healthy dose of camaraderie, compassion and concern. We have all experienced good coming out of bad, and Matthew is no exception. I have already experienced good and feel more is on the way. Blessings do show up in disguise, this time the disguise was a hurricane.
M—Mess: It all starts with a mess. Sometimes it isn’t until we find ourselves in a mess that we awaken to change and possibility.
A—Angels: Right when we felt we could not face the mess, angels arrived to fortify our spirits. Our neighbors, whose home wasn’t damaged, set up their kitchen as hurricane central. It’s where the neighborhood went to eat breakfast and lunch daily for almost a week. There were some days almost 35 people would eat lunch there—neighbors, crews, strangers. Other neighbors got involved and started contributing. Mac ‘n cheese casseroles, bagels, doughnuts, homemade cherry pies all arrived to not only feed our hunger, but to feed our hope.
T—Teamwork: Everyone wanted to help each other. They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s true. No one sat inside and watched television. People were out, anxious to help in any way they could. My husband worked in our yard and many others—even people he didn’t know. It was a renewal of “all for one and one for all.”
T—Thankful: Am I thankful my home was demolished? Crazy enough, the answer is yes and no. Of course it would be better if it were fine. I wouldn’t be displaced, stuff wouldn’t be damaged, and life would be unencumbered. But, I’m also thankful. It’s causing me to go through everything, and while I’m doing that, I’m decluttering, which was on my to-do list anyway. I now get to rebuild, which affords an opportunity for a fresh look. I have become great friends with many neighbors. I have grown closer to my husband in being stripped down by practically losing everything. There is a silver lining. I see the glimmer all around me and I am truly thankful.
H—Heart: Lot’s of heart has come out of the storm. Strangers in the form of both neighbors, crews and organized groups, such as Samaritan’s Purse, have shown up in the greatest time of need. Our community has always had heart, but Matthew was a super fertilizer that made our hearts grow even bigger.
E—Evacuation: So often we do not heed warnings and think we are smarter or bigger than an impending storm. I have spoken to several who decided to ride out the hurricane. They told me it was terrifying and said “never again.” I evacuated even though I thought it was a waste of time. I just knew the hurricane would miss us and I would be coming back to “business as usual.” Not this time and I’m so thankful I wasn’t home when the two massive pines decided to crash through the ceilings. I’ve learned if lives aren’t lost, then really the loss is minimal.
W—Wisdom: We are wiser in many ways now that we’ve experienced Matthew. We know more about insurance, tree removal, mitigation teams, adjusters and so much more. We have learned what to do next time and how to prepare better, as well. We are also wiser in knowing we need our neighbors, our leaders and our town. Basically, Matthew reminded us that we are all in this together and to quit living life as if we’re not. Anyone can help when the sun is shining, however you learn the true hearts of others in the midst of fury. It’s true; the sun always shines brightest after a storm.