I was cleaning house the other day and as I dusted a picture of me and three other women I was struck but the specialness of our relationships. Standing tall and smiling, we are linked arm to arm. But there is more that links us, God has been weaving us, in and out of seasons, sharing history and experiences together in this life. I close my eyes for a moment and my eyelids become a movie projector flashing memories and images of days gone by.
Tis the season where traditions are created and followed – many of us may not even remember how they began. Some are faith based; some sweet and some can be downright troublesome.
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.
I am not one to get involved in politics or even engage in political discourse. But as I watched the recent events in the news I am compelled to share my thoughts of despair and sadness.
The destruction of Hurricane Harvey has and is still wreaking havoc on Texas. The images of the destruction and flooding of homes and the displacement of its residence hits too close to home for us who live in Florida. We’ve been there as has New Orleans with Katrina and are about to face one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – Hurricane Irma. I sit with tears in my eyes as I see the wake of Harvey’s path. I also shed tears of pride as I see the plethora of law enforcement, first responders and volunteers pour into Texas helping to evacuate and care for the residence of Texas. We are seeing America at its best.
However, the images on the news switch to that of ANTIFA (or whoever is at the helm) at UC Berkley attacking peaceful demonstrators. They hide behind black clothing and masks, too ashamed of showing who they really are; hurting innocent people who are exercising their rights to demonstrate. The tears flow, once again, at man’s inhumanity to man and I wonder –
What is happening to America the Beautiful? Abe Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” Are we destroying ourselves? Are we imploding? Have we become so “me-minded” that we cannot accept anyone who shares a difference of opinion, color, and religion or candidate choice?
The sadness is so intense I begin to sob as I watch people beating up on others and law enforcement attempting to separate and protect the masses.
I wonder what God must be feeling as He watches both the good in us and the worst in us? Sadness? Anger? And will He intercede on our behalf or watch as we destroy this most beautiful country we call the United States of America. Where is the unity? Where are we united?
While the effects of Hurricane Harvey are difficult to watch, there are made by nature. Human beings nor God are to blame for Harvey’s path of destruction. We have risen up to help those in need and shine as we help those less fortunate forge a new life. Must we can attack physically and verbally those that do not share our points of view?
The hatred and misplaced anger seen throughout this country lies at our feet and ultimately at the Lords. Will we grow and learn from our pain? Will we turn to God for strength to live in harmony despite our differences or will we face the ultimate consequence when we face our Maker?
I recall a quote from an unknown author who wrote – “There is so much good in the worst of us. And so much bad in the best of us that it little behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us.”
And so I’ll stop talking about the worst and the best and choose instead to pray. Will you join me?
As Hurricane Irma rips forges ahead towards Florida we prepare for the worst. And we pray. We pray for Texans. We pray for the Caribbean Islands, northern Leeward Islands, the US and British Virgin Islands, Cuba and the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
Pray with might.
Pray like a warrior.
Pray without ceasing.
May God hear the prayers over the violence both natural and man-made.
Along my entry walkway I have three terracotta pot people. Each made using terracotta pots of varying sixes placed together to form a man, a woman, and a child. Overtime these little pot people get covered in dirt, mold mildew and even algae. Periodically they need a good scrubbing to bring them back to their original condition.
Today was the day to scrub away their grime. I carried them into the laundry room and as I scrubbed away the months of grime, I began to think about how we are not so different from the pot people.
A recent conversation with my cousin got me to thinking about how long I could afford to live. Recently my cousin returned to her oncologist after an experimental protocol she was on failed to keep her cancer in remission. She was prepared to pay the oncologist the $279.00 fee but unprepared for the subsequent bill she received from the hospital for $350.00.
A hospital can charge a patient for a facility fee every time they see a doctor whose office resides within one of its buildings. This is called a user or facility fee. Think of it as “wear and tear” or cost of maintaining the building.
However, when a hospital’s facility fee is more than the doctor’s fee, one begins to wonder if you can afford to take care of yourself.
Did my cousin really cause that much wear and tear on the building? She wondered: “Not only do I have to figure out how to stay alive, but I have to figure out how I am going to pay for it”.
This reminds me of a conversation I had with my mother many years ago. In addition to her monthly living expenses and the constant assessments her condo association passed to pay for the aging buildings; she had to contend with her cancer medical bills which were coming in fast and furious. She used to joke that if she could just figure out how long she was going to live; she would know how much she could spend.
That was 24 years ago. Not much has changed except that it is now our generation thinking the same thing. And it’s no joke.
I almost lost my husband to testicular cancer. Not once, but twice. The first time was when he was 31 years old and our daughter was 11 months old. Then second time she was 16. As he says: “Don’t have to worry about that anymore – I’m out of balls!” Funny? Maybe, since our story had a happy ending. Not everyone is as blessed.