Packing to head to our beloved island- Long Island Bahamas. This is usually a stressful time between John and I because I am woman! I pack too much!!!!!!!!! I shop for sales. I don’t buy at the mall. I shop thrift stores. I am woman. I shop. Not really but I do like to have a few new items to wear all winter while on our island. Packing the necessities- things John has on his list- is not a problem. But my clothes, books and shoes-all flip flops- yeah those all cause a riff in the house. Just saying……..
However, this year the packing stress was minor. Getting to the island was a larger stress. Worrying, praying, waiting to hear what was happening on our island was a stress. A BIG stress in the form of Hurricane Joaquin who decided to visit our island. She didn’t want to leave. Her visit lasted way too long. She sat and spun over the island- all 80 miles of it- for over 36 hours. She was an over sized visitor with too much energy. A category 4 hurricane with winds over 145 mph. Her visit was timed badly with a full moon that brought higher tides which meant horrible surges floating large fishing boats onto dry land.
We waited. We watched the weather channel. We scrolled thru Face Book. We text friends. We chatted with family of friends who hadn’t heard. We prayed like we had never prayed before.
John is a planner and a fixer. He needs to have things lined up all in a row. Getting to the island has to be organized and planned for him to keep calm. This unplanned, unwanted visitor was not making it easy for his plans. Ok- seriously- there were no plans. If we had plans they changed. THAT is not good for my John boy.
Stress built. Stress grew daily. Stress became our visitor. We welcomed it without knowing it was there. We entertained it. We fluffed it’s pillows to be more comfortable, only to make our comfort less and less.
Questions/ Plans/thoughts/discussions/plans/questions. Did I mention questions?
“If we leave on Monday,can we fly in the same day?” “Will the roads be clear for us to travel from the airport to our home” ” How long before power will be restored?” “Do you think everything is good at our house?” ….so many questions…….
Long Island is usually our go to “happy place”. We have loved living on Long Island during the winters for over 12 years now. We have loved Long Island and it’s people for 22 years, falling in love way back in 1993 and never looking back with the decision to build and live there. But now our “happy place” was devastated. Our “happy place” had many who were sad. How could I go there? How can I deal with this over whelming sadness, needs and desperation?
Joanquin was a monster who was destroying our beloved island and we could not do anything about it but wait and pray. Long Island seemed to be just recovering from Hurricane Sandy two years prior and another hurricane a year before that. How could this be happening? REALLY? NOT our Long Island!
Flooding beyond any we had ever experienced or seen. Destruction more than anyone should have to endure. Why God Why?????
Doubting my faith, my God, life. How could this be happening to my wonderful island, my precious friends there? My hands are tied. I am here. They are there. Enduring. Surviving. I could only hope.
A day and half of waiting and praying, word began to flow in that lives were spared. The sun was out, people were out trying to contact family to say they were alive and well. Life on Long Island would go on….somehow. But how? I could not imagine. Thoughts over whelmed me during sleepless nights. Visions came. Dreams, no nightmares………..stress……..
Sunday morning. The Lords day. A day to celebrate His love and saving grace. In my heart I knew this but my head said “stay home and rest on your own”. Yet another battle, stress. I was raised going to church on Sundays. It wasn’t a guilt thing at all for me, just part of who I am. Yet, I wanted to be with my daughter and family celebrating God and enjoying one another. Oh the battles, stress………
The worship had started as we entered the building. I was drawn in……..I raised my hands in worship. “How can I go Lord? How can I leave my family once again? How can I go to the island? So many needs and devastation there? I can’t do this. It is too much” .I began to empty myself to my Lord in worship. I cried to Him confessing that I had been selfish, self centered and more. As I poured out my heart to Him…..this is what HE said to me…….
“You ARE a Grandma ( I realized at that moment I was angry about getting older, my body wasn’t what it used to be, I couldn’t identify with my grandkids as they grew up), You are that generation of faith/belief that has with stood, has been tested by fire and time. BE a prayer warrior for them…..grandkids, kids, those who have lost and those who are lost. BE MY LIGHT with YOUR LOVE…….Be the PENNY I CREATED YOU TO BE!!!!!!”
I am filled with HIS peace, HIS joy and HIs strength!! I will walk- or hike- into this adventure before me with a knowing that God is going before me and “one day/moment at a time”.
A seaplane landed today -just 2 days after our hurricane visitor- on Deadmans Cay airport runway. A SEAPLANE???????? I LOVE our island- LONG ISLAND!!!!!