This time of year is nerve wrecking for a lot of people. Some of those people are very dear to me. I am convinced that you have a different kind of relationship with nature when you are born breathing the salt winds of a coastal shore. Hurricane David ripped thru The Coastal Empire from which I hail just ahead of my earthly debut. I rode out that storm in the comfort and safety of my Mama’s belly as the Category 2 winds ran up the coast all the way to North Carolina before spinning back out into the sea.
The first Hurricane I could observe with my own eyes was Kate. I have only a vague memory of water than ran hard like a faucet on full power and the image of an alligator that found its way into our waterlogged back yard. I remember pressing my hands and face up to the sliding glass door and wondering if rain like that could ever stop. Thankfully, I had the good sense not to open the door even at the age of five.
Tropical storms and hurricanes truly are a part of life when you live on a coast. There’s a rhythm to the rainy season that never really leaves your blood even when you move far away to the inland. The aftermath of those storms takes its toll on the affected communities as well. Property is damaged and tragically, lives are sometimes lost no matter how hard we plan or how well we predict out weather models. And yet, even staring loss in the face, we often see the light of humanity shine brightly against the pull of dark night. Neighbors help neighbors, strangers lend aid. We are invited to remember that we sit at the shared table of human existence. Each of our lives are precious and worth living well.
I took time last week to quietly check on and pray with friends and family affected by Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. I have and will continue to do likewise with my loved ones in the path of Hurricanes Irma and Jose. I will stand ready to lend what assistance I can for those who will lose things and pray for the safety of those precious lives that bless my world daily.
I keep hearing this phrase in my head…
In the eye of a hurricane there is quiet, for just a moment, a yellow sky…
~ Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton)
Inside that quiet is a sanctuary, a place of calm where we can take refuge and comfort and listen to that still small voice that says, “Fear not, for I am with you”. So as we all send our thoughts and prayers for the safety of our countrymen and women in the Caribbean and as we continue to pray and put our hands to work in the gulf coast aftermath in Texas, may we all choose to stare fear in the face and shine light and live into the dark places because we all have work to do. You do what you have to for family.
Marta C. Youngblood is a writer, education and social entrepreneur based in Lubbock, Texas. For more information on her current projects visit https://about.me/MCyoungblood.