Hurricane Irma definitely made its impact. Having been through many hurricanes, this one did significant damage physically, emotionally and reminded all of us how little we control in our lives.
With all those raw emotions and times of uncertainty, one of the positive lights that came out was how truly awesome people are. I saw so many people who just cared about another person and went the extra step to show it.
*People opened their homes to house others who didn’t feel safe or secure in their home. And we found that we do better in stressful situations when others are around. (Makes you want to join a group – don’t do life alone.)
* People helped others find/load supplies, board up houses, fill sand bags in a time when their own homes and families were an uncertainty.
*People worked. Thank you to all the weathermen and women who helped track the storm. Who knew it was going to go where it went? Yet, their message of prepare yourself and your family paid off in people having resources to take care of their loved ones. And a big thank you to all the first responders and utility providers, many from places far from here. You served us – leaving your homes and loved ones to provide for us. I have a great friend who was without power for 5 days but was busy helping others get their power back on.
* People led. I am so grateful for all of our state agencies that worked tirelessly to get the message out to prepare and then kept us informed in the process. Also, I am grateful that I work with a team of leaders who talked, planned and executed the best plan leading up to the storm. That same group jumped on executing a plan the same day the storm passed.
* People cleaned up. This one was personal. I came home to a 40 ft. magnolia tree that had fallen and several large branches down from one of my oak trees. Within 30 minutes of being home, two great families we love came and helped us saw up and clear the tree. One of my neighbors from down the street introduced himself and jumped right in. Within three hours, it was all cleaned up.
Our church had over 150 people show up at GFC the next day to go out into the community to help people who needed assistance in getting caught up. It was humbling and so cool to see.
* People hurt and people loved. So many people in other parts of Florida lost homes, property and even their lives. It is when people are most fragile that we see the resiliency and strength of others to help them carry through it. Deep down, we all have a capacity to love. Sometimes, we need an uncomfortable experience to show it.
Hurricane Irma was a tragedy that impacted so many lives. Yet, in that pain, there was so much we gained. A new perspective, a new opportunity and a new faith.