I wanted to post a funny blog today. But, it felt disingenuous when all I can think about is hurricane Irma and all of my beloveds in her path. I’ve been a bit obsessed with this storm and tracking her several times a day. For the most part, I’ve been off social media for the last two months, but lately I have found myself jumping on to see what my Floridian friends and family are posting and if they are evacuating or not.
Due to my slight obsession with (and anxiety about) the impending storm, I started Googling for information. I believe that gaining knowledge and gathering information about a given subject will make everything better. Listen, we all have our coping mechanisms, okay?
In all of my Googling, I came across something interesting and my science-fair-winning self couldn’t help but be intrigued. The eye of the cyclone is the most serene part of the storm but is simply a byproduct of the terrible eye wall. The eye wall is a ring of towering thunderstorms surrounding the eye. It is within the eyewall that the fiercest winds and heaviest rainfall are measured. The eye wall vacuums all traces of the storm from the hurricane’s eye leaving a calm atmosphere. The winds and storm clouds that are removed from the eye of the storm become spiralling winds that force warm air into the rest of the storm, creating the energy source for the ENTIRE hurricane. This warm air is what creates the strong winds and driving rain that make hurricanes so devastating. During a hurricane some people actually mistake the eye of the storm for the end of the storm because it can be so beautiful and clear.
See, in the storm, the eyewall, we steel ourself. We are aware of the impending danger and prepare for it – physically, spiritually, emotionally. We are on high alert. We execute decisions that are best for us and our families. We see our priorities clearly and we button things up. For some, evacuation is the right answer or the only option. Others board up, stock pile water and get as much gas as the economy will allow as they bunker down. It is full-on survival mode. My friends and family in the South, you are doing this right now and my prayers are with you.
But, in the eye of the storm, we can easily be mistaken, deceived even. It looks serene and inviting. Because of what our eyes can see, we assume everything is fine. We relax, step outside of our safe place, lower our internal threat level and maybe even jump back into the normalcy of life. Our guard is down and we aren’t trying so hard. After all, our neighbors are doing the same thing.
But danger remains.
As an anchor for my soul
Through every storm
I will hold to YouWith endless love
All my fear is swept away
I will trust in YouThere is hope in the promise of the cross
You gave everything to save the world You love
And this hope is an anchor for my soul
Our God will stand
You who was and is to come
Your promise sure
You will not let goYour Name is higher
Your Name is greater
All my hope is in YouYour word unfailing
Your promise unshaken
All my hope is in You
When we are experiencing the eyewall of life, real tough stuff like: Job loss, death, a natural disaster, addiction, divorce, devastation – it brings us to our knees and and we gather our community pretty quickly. Because we are amidst the threat and aware of the stakes, we search for comfort in numbers and find safety and security in His Word and in prayer. We know we need Him in the eyewall. He is our anchor. He is our hope. For that, we will sideline our agendas, humble ourselves and do whatever it takes to weather the storm, together.
Hear me when I say, this is the beauty and essence of Jesus followers. We know that when the storm rages in, we turn to Him and lean on each other. We hold up one another’s arms. We deal out grace, love and hope; not judgment, self-righteousness and condemnation. You guys, I love this about us. We have the potential to come out on the other side better, stronger and more unified as a community. We are resiliant.
In the eye of the storm it is sunny, bright and clear. Things appear to be going well. Life is peaceful, rhythmic and productive. We are manning this ship and it is running like a well oiled machine. This is a good season. There is no need to take shelter or refuge. We don’t really need to commit to that group or participate in Church. We are busy doing life; running errands, parenting, working and trying to be normal for goodness sake. We will pray and read our devotionals when we think of it. At ease, soldiers. There is no threat, so just chill.
The deception of the “eye” kept circling around in my brain today and it bothered me. How ridiculous that the energy source of an entire hurricane can appear so beautiful yet be so misleading. But isn’t that also true of our seasons of good and plenty? They appear so lovely and put together that we are misled (mostly subconsciously) into thinking that it doesn’t require much of us to keep things afloat. Things are just happening and God is good. So, we become a little more lax. We check out for a bit and go on auto-pilot. Then complacency creeps in, we lose empathy, misplace our priorities, isolate ourselves and develop a parochial view of the world and those around us. Maybe not all of those things happen at once, but it is a slippery slope, my friends, and we are at risk for any of the above.
My desire is for us to: Hold fast to that Anchor, not just in the eyewall of the storm, but in the eye as well; Burn with as much passion and drive when things are easy as when they are tough; Value community, lean on others and lift them up not just in the bad times, but in the good times; Remain open-minded, tolerant and empathize with other’s struggles no matter how neat and tidy our privileged little world is; Read the Word and pray with as much tenacity in the comfortable moments as we would in the distressing ones.
Let’s batten down the hatches in the storm and be intentional in the calm.