Reading about the events that are occurring in the Northeast, is truly amazing. Just when things seemed to be subsiding after the torrential rains and floods of hurricane Sandy, Mother Nature shakes off a gust of record snowfall in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. It sounds like something right out of an apocalyptic movie or book as residents who have been without power for the last two weeks because of Hurricane Sandy, now prepare themselves to continue to be without power even longer due to snow. Although I am comfortably settled in North Carolina without any threat of natural disasters on the horizon, I can’t help but see how the weather calamities that have impacted the Northeast, are actually lessons about life.
If my pastor has said it once, she’s said it a million times: “Life will flip on you”. What we see happening via television and media outlets is that life has flipped on some of our neighbors and it almost seems that they can’t win for losing. My heart really goes out for the people without power in 32 degree weather who are still recovering from floods and wind damage to their homes and vehicles. It almost seems unfair until you remember what your mother/teacher/coach tried to tell you all those years ago, “life ain’t fair”.
America has the tendency to think itself damage-proof. We purchase security systems, storm-glass windows, build elaborate storm shelters and utility basements, hide our money in federally insured banks, and purchase extra chargers for our cell phones. These preparation methods are great and necessary, but many times we take care of the exterior areas of our lives and ignore the interior.
There is a message that I think weather disasters try to communicate to us, but normally we don’t listen. Life will periodically be shaken by an array of events ranging from unexpected death, illness, natural disasters, or even crime. Some of our parents know it, and our grandparents lived it. Because of events like the Great Depression, tornadoes, hurricanes, wind storms, drought, flooding, and death, our grandparents and ancestors learned to hold loosely to possessions and tightly to people.
They took their time at dinner, setting the table, spooning home-cooked food onto each plate, enjoying the old stories about relatives that had passed and the new stories about events that had occurred throughout the day. They made scrap books and photo albums-albums that we now relish and cherish full of black and white and tattered pictures of ancestors we barely knew. They kept old clothes, jars, and newspapers that mentioned family members’ names. They prayed on-bended-knee prayers beside kerosene lamps and old Bibles; prayers that lasted til they fell asleep. Prayers that have sustained entire generations today. And when the storms came they prepared as best as they could, knowing full well that the only thing stronger than Nature is Nature’s Creator.
In contrast, we hurry our processed meals, eating in front of televisions and smart-pads. We pile loads and loads of pictures onto our media devices and rarely do any of them make it to a scrapbook or album. Our possessions possess us oftentimes splitting us apart from the people we used to love. Our prayers are quick-fast-and-in a hurry-prayers as we drive to work. These prayers sustain us for the moment leaving entire generations without any idea how to pray.
Life will flip on you.
You can always rebuild. You can always recover financially. You can always find another job, but relationships, once they are damaged, are really hard to repair. The storms have come, are coming, and will come in the near future. Make sure that what really matters to you, really matters.