I (Karen) am still processing my feelings surrounding Hurricane Irma. It’s been helpful to have many local friends who had a common experience and want to talk about it as well. Seems like just about everyone felt some pretty intense mix of emotions and had their lives completely thrown off-track for about 2 weeks.
The week before Irma was exhausting, full of decisions. We needed enough news to be prepared (should we buy more supplies or evacuate? should we sleep in the closet or go to someone else’s house? should we have all our “important things” in the car or leave them in waterproof containers?) while trying to avoid too much information (articles about Irma being the hugest and most potentially dangerous storm ever, pictures of empty shelves at every store). The storm itself was exhausting—in Orlando, the worst of the storm raged all night. We heard unknown objects hitting the house, the front door shook like crazy, and the wind was just so loud. The aftermath was exhausting. Every person we encountered was a little on-edge and in varying states of tired/cranky/unwashed as we waited for everybody’s power to come back on and things to feel “normal.” There were so many emotions as everyone found out how everyone else was doing—such a crazy mixture of relief and heartache. Different friends lost different things: a pet cat, a friend (who died while trying to help someone else), their parents’ roof, a car, freezers full of food, many hours to cleaning up debris, and countless hours of sleep while pumping water away from their home.
Here’s what I think I learned. It’s OK to feel scared. Yes, I had a sweet extended time of prayer and felt God with me every second while the wind and rain thrashed in the darkness. But He was with me through a frightening experience, He didn’t remove the frightening experience. It’s OK to be sad. Having joy in the Lord does not equal being happy every moment (or pretending to be) when you are going through something difficult. It’s OK to feel angry, as long as you don’t let that anger dictate your behavior or your opinion of God. God’s thoughts are higher than ours and His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). It’s OK to acknowledge that sometimes we don’t like His ways. It’s OK to feel thankful and make note of God’s incredible goodness and grace while still feeling all those other things 🙂
Do you need to share anything? The news lately is enough to give anyone an onslaught of emotions! You can always call or email us if you need someone to encourage you, help you process, point you toward Jesus, or just listen.