Up and down the eastern seaboard, preparations were made all weekend as Hurricane Irene churned up a monstrous fuss that threatened millions of people in her furious path. From Florida all the way up to Eastern Canada, she unleashed her feelings in no uncertain terms.
My dad and step mom were visiting from CA and we watched carefully as their Saturday flights out of Syracuse into Cincinatti drew ever closer. It's a very good thing they were heading west. They wouldn't have been flying that day, otherwise.
By the time she reached Central New York where we live, the worst of her fury could be seen on the shores of Lake Ontario, where I sat and watched in awe as she tossed and turned on the water's surface and tired herself out. So much power and beauty. I marveled at how these winds, which were much lower in strength than those on the coast were experiencing, could whip up such a frenzy on a lake the size of ours, turning it into an ocean. She smashed against the boardwalk repeatedly, as if working out some crazy deep issues of her own. I looked on with some detachment thinking... "Yeah, you're not so bad!"
Little did I know as I sat there observing her, that just to my east in Vermont, her fury was far more pronounced and destructive. While I stood and watched her from a distance and felt grateful that those I cared about were now out of harm's way and I could put her to rest as I stared her down, she was tantruming in a mighty mighty way in New England and even in parts of Eastern New York.
This morning, I read the story of a fellow blogger who had a far different experience and to say I found it sobering would be way too deep an understatement. She speaks of a man who watched the woman he loved get carried away from him and lost to a swollen and angry river. She shared a picture of a beautiful two story house floating right on down the street. Someone's entire house! Streets flooded, water everywhere. Irene made a far different mark and was far worse than expected for some people. My heart sank, when I read it ... it was reminiscent of the feeling I had when Japan was fighting her battles earlier this year.
I am once again reminded that just because I am left untouched in one respect, I am not left untouched entirely. There are those whose lives have been changed irrevocably by this storm ... and that indeed, changes mine. Irene has left billions of dollars of damage in her wake and I'm sure there will be many more stories in the coming days. The human spirit is very resilient and as always, we will carry on. But my heartfelt prayers go out to those affected so profoundly and I will take the time today to pause and be thankful. Last night ended with a very dramatic sunset as Irene took her leave.
This morning dawned quietly here as if nothing ever happened. My heart was aching as I stood there thinking about that. Human fury is much the same. It damages, and causes a good deal of destruction in its wake before petering out. I would do well to consider that carefully.
I don't always understand why things happen as they do. I guess that is where trust has to take over. God's purpose is not always clear, but it is His and faith demands once again, that I am to respect the power of that.