This morning finds my hometown of Wilmington, NC fully out of Hurricane Sandy's strike zone, relatively unscathed. But make no mistake, we've stared into the eye of many a storm. And storms have taught me a few lessons.
For a while we were nicknamed "Hurricane Alley" as storm after storm rolled up the coast and into us, like a bowling ball in a bowling lane. I grew so accustomed to doing hurricane preparation, I no longer needed the "hurricane checklist" I'd made after moving here.
We've lost trees, shingles, power, and freezers worth of food. I've learned to prep food in advance, fill the bathtubs with water, and determine just how long my fridge can go before we need to hook it to the generator for an hour. I've also learned NOT to tape my modern storm windows (#notneeded, #useless).
But no matter how many times I've hunkered through a storm, it has the same effect. It reminds me of the fragility of life. It reminds me I'm not guaranteed tomorrow. Much less a sunny, happy, prosperous, trouble-free tomorrow.
At least not here on earth.
It reminds me of the importance of people. Relationships. Friendships. Family.
And it pulls my often-warped sense of blessing out of the hands of capitalism and Madison Ave. and places it back where it belongs: bowed on bended knee before God.
A whole lot of people fared worse in Storm Sandy that we did here -- and I'm praying for them. For them to be safe, to stay dry, and to be fed and warm. I pray they will weather the losses well. But most of all I am praying that this experience drags our point of view off of ourselves, off of our dire circumstances, and onto the Lord.
Because I've learned that is the greatest blessing to come out of such a tragedy.
So today I say farewell to Sandy, and hello to an adjusted sense of gratitude.