I want to start by clarifying that I am writing this blog on Friday, September 30th at 10am. As of this moment, Hurricane Ian has not yet made its second assault upon the eastern side of the U.S.
I have never had to survive a natural disaster. There was that one time when I was about 12 years old and a tornado got perilously close to our family’s camper in the Smokey Mountains. But we were spared even though the campground was a mess afterwards.
In seeing the pictures of the devastation in Florida, my heart physically hurts. I had to stop looking after a dozen or so pictures because seeing them really doesn’t help anyone. What helps (we hope) are prayers and other more material ways of assistance where we are able.
Where my heart really hurts, are my friends. As I sit here now, I have one dear friend who may have lost her home. She was smart and evacuated when told too, but her island is devastated and she has no info yet on whether her house has survived. I have another friend who lost a part of her house, but definitely fared better. Another friend was pretty much spared and only had to endure a few hours of power outage.
And finally, one of my closest friends in the world is sitting in North Carolina wondering if his mother’s funeral on Saturday will happen or not.
I know that these are only a handful of the stories regarding Hurricane Ian, but they are the ones that are personal to me. And as I notice stories like these, I always struggle a bit with the “why of it all.” Why did one friend possibly lose her home and another friend have only a minor inconvenience when both were directly in the path of the hurricane? After so many months of struggle and suffering during his mother’s last days, why does my other friend have to have the added stress of a funeral postponed or a burial in torrential rains?
One of the hardest questions I get asked when teaching is about what I call “the nature of human suffering.” And I never fully know how to answer the question of “why did this happen? Why would my angels let this happen? Why would God let this happen?”
I don’t have a full answer for that. I have my own thoughts and suspicions, but they’re just that. As annoying and even painful as it is, I do think that there are just some things we won’t understand until we pass back over into the arms of the Divine.
What I do believe is that we must pray for those who have been harmed. We must give thanks for our loved ones who were not taken from us during the disaster. And we can pray for insight that the “why of it all” will be explained – if not immediately, at least in due time.
Please do join me in those prayers and meditations for Florida, the Carolinas, and anywhere else that Ian might be tempted to land.
And let us also pray that Ian just goes away without doing any further harm.
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