What I learned from Harvey, Irma, and Maria
I’ve been a Florida resident for over 40 years and have had a plethora of experiences with hurricanes. The names change but the effects are the same: fear, exhaustion and destruction. Not only physically destroying our homes, neighborhoods, and towns but shattering us emotionally and spiritually.
Friends, while experienced in this natural phenomenon, I was scared. I know, I know. I live in the center of Florida- what do I have to be afraid of? But Florida at its widest it is 160 miles and is 600 miles long. Irma covered the entire state! When we were searching for our home in Central Florida I inquired about shutters and impact windows and was told that there wasn’t a need as the area does not see severe hurricanes. Hello, ever hear about Hurricanes Donna, Charlie and now Irma? But I settled into a false sense of security (I am gullible, I admit) and I was busy getting settled into the new home and enjoying spending time with my daughter, son-in-love, grandsons and grand dog. I had some hurricane supplies but not enough for the above tribe and my brother and sister in law from Fort Pierce. When I lived in South Florida, I always prided myself by being prepared at the onset of the hurricane season (June) and while everyone else was scrabbling two days before a hurricane, I went into Publix to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. I was prideful and as my mom used to say “The devil wipes his butt with pride”.
After seeing the devastation of Hurricane Harvey I was afraid. Afraid that this house while newer than our South Florida home would not withstand the onslaught of wind. Afraid that while we are not in a flood zone, we bordered on one and we have seen heavy rainfall collect along the edge of the preserve and come through our back fence. What would a hurricane do? Because we did not have hurricane impact windows or shutters I was afraid we could have damage. Most importantly would we be safe?
So while we waited to see what Irma was going to do, we scrambled for the rest of our supplies and battened down the house as best as we could. And we worried, feared for ourselves, feared for our family here and in south Florida.
Hurricanes are not unlike battling a disease. Whether its cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or another illness, it has the potential to not only destroy our bodies but also our hearts, mind and very souls as well. And like a hurricane, when faced with a medical hurricane there are several things one can do.
- Educate oneself to the disease state or medical hurricane in your life.
- Make necessary decisions as to how you plan to deal with medical issue in your life. Have a plan of action (surgery vs no surgery, radiation vs chemotherapy, surgery vs physical therapy).
- Prepare for the worst. Get your papers in order, get medicines, tests, surgeries, therapies and any modalities that can help you withstand the onslaught of medical mayhem.
- Gather your support team. This can be family members, friends, church as well as healthcare professionals you trust.
- Be afraid. Yes, it’s okay to be afraid. Fear can be a great motivator for good. But realized that F.E.A.R. can either be Fear Everything and Run of Face Everything and Rise. Turn fear into motivation and not immobilization.
- Turn to the one who offers us respite from despair. Whether you are preparing, in the midst of cleaning up, talk to the One who offers us supernatural peace and guarantees that He is in the midst of your storm and will be there before, during, and after. Believe and receive the peace that comes from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Like the hurricane season, if we do not prepare for medical mayhem we will find ourselves in a mad dash for our lives and the lives of those we love. If we prepare for these events we will find that while they remain frightening, we can weather both natures’ wrath and the medical storms that come our way.
Please pray for those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Consider reaching out financially (if you can), physically (if you are able) and prayerfully (always).