So as we prepared for a hurricane that may or may not come our direction; it was amazing the variety of responses that we get when we talked about what was going on. Many people were staying in their homes, they were boarding up, they were gathering water, and gathering supplies for not just during the hurricane but of course afterwards. Most of us realized that the damage and destruction from any strong storm coming through gave us quite a possibility that we may not have any electricity and things may be limited for a little bit. It’s funny that when we talked to somebody from out of state they were like you need to leave! Seriously, you need to pack up and you need to go right now! I laugh thinking to myself ‘ I talked to a lady at a checkout and it took her 12 hours to get out of the Keys just to make it up to central Florida. And this was days before the storm! There are so many people living down here in Florida, traffic is always heavy, and yet now during a hurricane, it’s even busier. So, oh sure, let me just jump in my private jet and pop over to somewhere safe.
I wonder, when an incredibly horrific snowstorm is headed towards the Northern states, should we say the same to them? Or how about Tornado Alley during high storm season?
People say to us that live in Florida, how can we stand it? Between the heat and the hurricanes, how can we stand living here?
Ummm, let’s see. I can get to the ocean or the Gulf in less than 2 hours normally. I seldom need to grab more than a jacket when I run out somewhere. When my son was little, I never had to layer him in multiple layers to get out the door only to have him say ‘Mama, I gotta potty!’ Florida night skies are incredible, the rainbows are beautiful, and my son plays baseball all year! I don’t ever worry about slipping on the ice, my doors are never frozen shut, and I haven’t shoveled a sidewalk in years!
My husband works at the happiest place on earth and we live in a place that people save for years to come visit.
Now, mind you, Irma was devastating to many. I am certainly not downplaying the intensity of that hurricane. The places she hit the hardest are still and will be for a long time reeling from the effects. I am not poking fun at anyone or any area that endured some of the worst weather ever recorded in modern history.
What I am trying to make light of is the ludicrous mindset of those not in the path of Irma.
Honestly I have heard some of the funniest things!
“You need to leave! They are evacuating Florida!” I’m sorry, but that one took the cake! A mass exodus of Florida? Really? I mean where do they expect us to go? Is there a plan in place to move over 20 million people out of the state?
“Don’t you know that the storm is coming and you could go without electricity for months?” This one made me chuckle, since it came from one that lives near Amish country. This day and age the thought of living a bit ‘off the grid’ isn’t as far fetched as in times past.
“They are expecting waves to come and wipe out everything!” Ok, along the shoreline, I get it, get away until the storm is over. But central Florida? If we get waves coming that wipe out the middle of the state, that’s gonna make global news!
When it was headed for Miami, I actually heard that maybe it was God’s plan to wipe out some of the negativity there. Can you believe that? My response to that is Matthew 5:45, which explains that He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. The tune completely changed when the path of Irma changed, and it became more of a ‘Mother Nature’ talk, which cracks me up.
There were multiple others, but I believe you get my point, those from outside see things so differently than those within.
I sit here, in the dark, typing on my cellphone, with no power and unable to submit this until I’m out in civilization tomorrow. I am dressed quite scantily, not to be alluring, but because it’s down right hot! We have some windows open, not all, since we don’t bother to have screens in some because we always have them shut and the air conditioning on. (A point I feel will get remedied after this storm!) I’m hot, it is hard to sleep, there isn’t much of a breeze this evening. But that is all convenience, nothing catastrophic.
Since I was so restless, I got up, retrieved a cold drink from the cooler, and I set about to reflect upon what we have experienced.
Last week when the storm appeared to be considering coming toward Florida, many began the initial preparations for just in case. Primarily I think that the diehard Floridians were still praying for hard hit Texas, and talking about how South Florida, the Keys and the islands needed to brace just in case, but not too self concerned yet. As the storm began it’s journey northward, it became more of a ‘they probably should evacuate from down there,’ discussion.
Now, I’m sure there were some up along central Florida that were getting really prepared early on, but I have to say that a lot of us were still watching that storm track before we jumped into action. I know that about Tuesday night the realization came to a lot of us, this was actually a storm to be reckoned with. Then, around work and other life events, preparation began in earnest. By Thursday, if anyone from South Florida hadn’t begun evacuating, they were pretty much in a spot to hunker down. Reports of road trips that took normally 3 hours were taking 10 hours. Gas stations were already out of gas. No one had water for sale. I heard that a local store got 9 pallets of water and they were gone in less than a half an hour!
But here is where humanity came into play. Throughout the country, people began to prepare for this storm as well. No, they weren’t boarding windows, but they were packing and gathering supplies. Convoys of people left their homes and their families to come down to help us in the aftermath. To all that did – God Bless you and Thank you!
Whereas here instead of people in the stores being self absorbed and driven, I saw people helping others and talking to each other. There is something about sharing the emotions of an impending storm that brings about a connection that is almost unexplainable. Lines were so very long, but instead of seeing angry faces, I heard laughter and saw people interacting. As Irma decided to alter her course, and drop in on central Florida, I heard stories of people who had fled from her path to only learn she changed her mind, and came the same way they did. Jokes were then made of how a woman can’t make up her mind, etc. But I never saw any of them being angry or belligerent. Maybe because Irma was a force of nature (although I have heard comments that she had some man made elements, but this isn’t a conspiracy talk) with the unpredictability that comes with that, or maybe because it has been years since we have had to brace for such a storm and that sense of adventure was rising, or maybe even because deep down we expected her to veer off or fizzle out, whatever the case, mankind shined this weekend!
Irma left days ago now, and many are beginning to get back to their lives, adjusting to whatever changes have come about. But it is nice to see that the familiarity of a shared victory of surviving another hurricane is keeping the friendliness intact.
So, you ask how can we stand Florida? A little sunscreen, lots of water and an occasional reminder that life is about more than electric and convenience.
For those that suffered loss, my prayers are with you. For those that are still dealing with struggles from this, my thoughts are with you. For those that are helping out and serving others, God Bless you!