Last week, along with the rest of the world, we watched the news in horror of the damage created by "Harvey." I found myself wishing I lived closer to Texas to be able to do something besides donate to support groups I shared in a blog post.
My buddy Mike Fulton posted the image on the right on his Facebook page. He was standing in front of his mother's house after bringing food and beer to neighbors who were helping to keep an eye on the neighborhood. Over and again, his story has been repeated as the community around him has all pitched in, working together to rebuild.
Well, this morning I find myself identifying with Mike and other friends even more. We live in south Florida, just two houses from the inland waterway and less than a mile from the open ocean. "Irma" has laid claim to Florida and is headed our way.
We're getting a firsthand experience as Sheila, and I go through our what if scenarios. What I've discovered in the process, even though the storm hasn't arrived yet, is an incredible awareness for more of what friends in Texas went through before "Harvey's" arrival. Take a second, regardless of where you live and ask yourself,
"If there was a chance I was about to lose everything material in my life, what would I try and save?"
As we took our daily walk around the neighborhood this morning, we noticed a few houses with storm shutters. Not very many, but I feel like one of the two little pigs - the ones who built their houses out of sticks and straw. Yeah, hindsight is always 20/20.
We've done all the things you're supposed to do to prepare. From canned goods to cases of water, plenty of batteries, candles, and fully charged phones - we're ready, but for what? If we have to evacuate, we've got our list. But there's a secondary list that ranges from making sure I grab the box of old photographs to Sheila wanting the movers to come in and just load up a truck!
But here's something interesting that happens - after you prepare, make your list and have your exit plan, there's one last step in the process - you simply pray. Regardless of what your religious affiliation might be, you find yourself saying these little one liner prayers that always start out, "Please God..."
In the end, like so many friends in Texas have already learned - the final most important prayer is for the safety of the people you love. Nothing you physically own matters. Family heirlooms, furniture, old photographs, even camera gear - they all finish behind your family and friends.
So, as we brace ourselves and wait for "Irma" to pound on our door, my thoughts and prayers still go out to friends in Texas along with so many friends and neighbors here in south Florida.
"Keep praying, but be grateful that God's answers are wiser than your prayers."