I am despondent.
I feel violated.
Like millions of other souls in the Caribbean and the Southeast United States, I am insulted and slapped in the face by Mother Nature through her daughter, Irma.
It is a silly thing. After all, a hurricane doesn’t have a spirit or a grudge against anyone. It’s a part of the natural order which we should study, and learn its ways.
That being said, it doesn’t change my feelings. I am a human being, so naturally, I despise being inconvenienced. Irma disrupted my schedule.
So what’s next?
The secular answer is to show countless pictures of broken boats, torn-up homes, flood waters and weeping humans in an attempt to create empathy. But the problem is, America was already emotionally hurting before the storm came. Our country was reeling from not knowing where to put our feet on solid ground.
The storm has shaken an already unstable populace.
It reminds me of the story in Mark the 2nd Chapter. Jesus is teaching at Peter’s house. The crowd is good. Jesus had been away for a while, so people were glad to see him and came out to hear the latest “good thoughts.”
Four fellows showed up with a crippled friend, hoping to gain an audience with Jesus, thinking he might be able to do something to help their comrade. They can’t get into the house–it’s too crowded. They can’t get anywhere near the front door.
So they crawl on top of the house, lifting their friend, and they vandalize it. They tear a hole in the roof. Just like Irma.
They rip off the roof, creating devastation and a disaster.
They ease their friend down, into the house, in front of Jesus. Jesus does not comment on the destruction. Jesus does not apologize to Peter because a hole has been ripped in his roof. Jesus tells this man who’s been let down, humiliated and left vulnerable through the experience, that his sins are forgiven.
It’s what he needed to hear.
It’s what I need to hear.
It’s what everyone needs to hear: “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s a hole in the roof. You’re not a worse sinner because your roof got blown off and the one next door didn’t, and you’re certainly not more saintly because you escaped destruction. It’s going to be okay. You’re going to be all right.”
We are emotionally devastated while simultaneously trying to tally the total amount it will take to replace our goods. There needs to be a voice speaking to all of us, saying, “It’s okay. Irma was just doing a natural thing. God’s not out to get you, and it’s not all about climate change. It’s called ‘the weather.’ It happens. But you are loved. You are worth much more than a hole in the roof.”
After Jesus forgives the man, he says to him, “Get up.”
And that’s what I want to say to all my brothers and sisters, as I also proclaim it to myself: “Get up. We’re all right.”
Take a minute, though, and make sure you are emotionally stable before you start filing your insurance claims–because it was scary. It was painful. It was hot and sweaty. It was dark.
Enjoy some sunshine. Get in the light. Remember, you are worth many sparrows. God hasn’t stopped loving anyone. Nature and science have run their course.
Let’s get up now–go back to our homes, take what we’ve learned, and live even more meaningful and intense lives.