On the Edge of the Storm

Horizons are interesting.  There is always such a clear-cut line between ocean and sky.  As I sit here on the edge of Hurricane Florence, however, I find that the line between the storm and a state of normalcy is much more blurry.  We have been out of school for 10 days and will miss another 4 before classes resume.  We have lost a good portion of our Volleyball and Soccer seasons.  Teachers are scrambling to figure out how to ensure students will learn all they need to know about Algebra and Literature before the end of a now shortened school year.  We are wondering how and if we should even make up days missed. And that’s just school.  Churches have yet to begin regular weekly services.  Families are still without power or internet.  Homes are in disarray or completely destroyed.  Many local businesses are not yet up and running.  Trash is piled up on the side of every street.  And even the shelves in Walmart look bare.  Recovery, I am finding, takes time.

A few days ago, I joked with a friend that I may be suffering a little PTFD – Post Traumatic Florence Disorder, and trust me, I’m not making light of what we know about PTSD.  In fact, I get it.  Or, at least I get it a little, I think.  As I stood on our front porch and watched the waters rise, I was legitimately afraid. I’m still recovering my center and finding my feet, and I don’t think I’m alone.  Our community is in a collective grieving process.  We feel broken and we feel blessed.  We feel exhausted and we feel encouraged.  We feel raw and we feel reminded that even after the storm is long gone, Hurricane Florence has left her fingerprints all over our horizon and all over our hearts.  The landscape of our lives will not be the same for a very long time.

Normalcy, I think, is something we naturally desire, but here is what I find interesting.  Storms shake things up.  They bring to the surface both fear and faith.  They cause us to be better and worse than we usually are, and they force us to face ourselves and face our God in ways “normal” never could.  It is during the storms and after when we learn who we really are and perhaps even begin to strive for who we really want to be.  In fact, it took a storm for the disciples of Jesus Christ to even recognize (and then only in part) that He truly was the Son of God (Matthew 14:33).  And perhaps that’s the point.

I sit today on the edge of this storm and recognize (at least in part) that Jesus Christ is Who He claimed to be; and though I would not wish such a storm on anyone, I would also not trade what I have learned about my Savior over the past 15 days for any amount of normalcy.  The song Oceans by Hillsong says the following, “Your grace abounds in deepest waters,”  and I tend to agree.  Hurricane Florence came and went with a vengeance, but God is with us still… and His grace abounds!  Here’s the truth:  Normal is coming.  School will resume on Monday.  Students will learn Algebra and Literature.  Teachers will find creative ways to make up lost time.  Families will recover.

But when normal comes, I want to remember.  I want to remember what the edge of this storm feels like.  I want to remember Who was with me through it all.  And I  want to remember the storm of a lifetime where on the line somewhere between sea and sky stood Jesus saying, “Peace.”