So by now you all have seen the massive devastation from Hurricane Florence – I am unhappy to report that I have had an up-close and ugly front row seat as it unfolded across Eastern North Carolina. I live and work in a small city, 17 miles west of the Atlantic Ocean, and it has been declared a disaster area. Power has been out for 6 days, people’s homes are still flooded out, some houses are still inaccessible due to downed trees… This place is just a complete and total mess. It’s so bad, that we actually have our own meme… Usually you can’t hear yourself think because this town is the home to the largest military flight line on the East Coast. For nearly the last week you haven’t been able to hear yourself think because of all of the generators that have been running. It actually has made me miss the sound of the air traffic…
I’ve worked 6 of the last 7 days in the 911 center, and we have processed well over 1,000 calls for service since the beginning of the hurricane – we usually average about 500 calls for service in 7 days… It’s been crazy, busy and just plain exhausting. On top of that, add in trying to help with the mess at my home and I am just worn out. My husband and I were fortunate, the only damage to our home was a gutter that was ripped off by a falling tree. Our shed on the other hand was not so fortunate – we discovered yesterday after a tree was cut off of it that several of the trusses were broken and a section of the roof was completely destroyed.
Amidst all of the chaos though, we have been blessed beyond measure. A group from Hickory, NC came out to help with some of the initial clean up. Not only did they help us by cutting the tree off of the shed and tarping its roof, in a 24 hour period they went and assisted people at several other homes. They tarped off several roofs, cut up ALOT of trees and helped with some general yard maintenance. We somehow managed to squeeze all 7 of them at our dining room table for a home cooked meal, and then creatively tetrised them around the house to sleep. These folks have true servants hearts and are so very special for coming and helping my community in its time of need.
Throughout the last week it’s been difficult to have anything “normal” in my life. Between the chaos of work and just the general unknown with so much of the City’s infrastructure damaged, worry and anxiety has continued to try and creep in. I’m not going to lie, keeping it at bay has not been an easy task… Today I took a good look in the mirror for the first time in nearly a week and realized that my hurricane glitter (gray hair) was getting out of control. I’ve almost got a full streak going on now 🤦♀️
At the beginning of September, I started a new visual faith practice. It’s basically like a daily prayer journal. I found a small planner on clearance at Hobby Lobby and use it as my devotional guide. I chose to use “Portals of Prayer” from Concordia Publishing House, as it has short daily devotions in a handy pocket sized book. Each day I journal a word on the monthly part of the calendar and then write out a section of scripture from the devotion in the daily part of the calendar. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes, and it is a wonderful way to focus on God’s Word – especially in the craziness that has been the last week.
Finding calm in the midst of the storm has not been easy, but taking time each day to spend in devotion has truly brought peace to my heart.
If you would like to help support the relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Florence, please go to the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Southeastern District page here . All donations will go directly to those in need.