Note: I wrote this as Monday night turned into the Tuesday morning before the hurricane. I wanted feedback before publishing, and that’s why it’s delayed, but I still thought this was worth sharing. No water has come in since the storm, and the worst of the aftermath for me was a broken tomato vine. My heart is with the victims who bore the brunt of this hurricane, and I pray that God stays close to those who need Him most.
At the beginning of August I noticed water coming from my attic during a storm. As you may have imagined, I was worried. As clueless as I am about home ownership, I knew this wasn’t something I could ignore.
I contacted a few different companies to try to get a competitive price and make sure I found someone that seemed like they really knew what they were doing. The first guy that came out seemed to indicate there was one minor problem in the attic he had to fix, while the second offered a much more detailed and thorough investigation and explanation of the problems I was having.
I followed up with the company 3 or 4 times over the course of a month to try to get a quote before I got any more companies involved to no avail.
It was annoying, but at the end of the day it was just one item on the never ending to do list that is adult life.
We weren’t getting a lot of rain so it wasn’t a huge deal anyway.
I called a new company and had a conversation with who I’m convinced is one of the most pleasant women to have ever walked this earth and she told me that she could have someone out in a week to look at my roof. I told her that was fine.
And then I learned that I was in Idalia’s path, and that what was supposed to be a tropical storm was projected to become a category 3 hurricane, and suddenly a pesky errand became an urgent priority that could have devastating consequences if it wasn’t solved in a few hours.
I started panicking.
It was Monday morning and Idalia was expected to hit Tampa Bay in 48 hours.
How could I find someone on such short notice that I could trust to do a good job and give me a fair price?
I imagined gallons of water pouring into my bedroom. I imagined a wardrobe I’d been cultivating since I was 16 destroyed. I imagined the unique and specific furniture I’d spent months looking for completely disintegrating. I imagined repairmen coming to my house and telling me it would cost me a quarter or more of my pre-tax annual salary to fix the damage that had been done. I imagined my insurance doing what insurance companies do best, and finding a way to screw me over. I imagined the dream I’d been fighting so hard to keep alive permanently crushed.
In the midst of thinking about all that could go wrong, I started thinking about all that had gone wrong.
My life has felt like a series of unfortunate events since March, and every time I thought things couldn’t get worse, they found a way to.
I’m angry, I’m exhausted, I’m confused. I found myself asking why God would let all of this happen.
Around 11am on Monday I spoke with someone that was already doing work in my area. After he looked around and gave me an estimate, he told me he needed 15 minutes to pick something up from a different job site. 15 minutes turned into 40 minutes. 40 minutes turned into 2 hours and 2 hours turned into 2 more hours.
In that time my mind wandered back to all that could go wrong. But the job was eventually done.
The bill wasn’t exactly chump change, but it wasn’t the end of the world either. And after going over the job with the handymen and paying the balance, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief.
I thought about how worked up and stressed out I’d been all day, and it brought me back to navigating Hurricane Ian last year.
I evacuated with my friend to her mother and step father in Mount Dora, about 2 hours east of St Petersburg. I had prayed over my home, my mother prayed over my home, my grandmother prayed over my home, my aunt prayed over my home, my parents’ congregation prayed over my home.
But that didn’t stop me from worrying.
The whole time I was in Mount Dora I was consumed with thoughts about what could be going wrong. What if my house was flooding? What if a window broke? What if people were looting?
I cut myself some slack as I’d been a homeowner for less than 2 months at that point and it being my first hurricane.
But what good has anxiety ever done me?
What have I ever accomplished by fixating on every possible negative outcome?
Stressing about everything that can go wrong has never actually prevented anything from going wrong. What was going to happen was going to happen no matter how I felt about it. And it made me wonder if God is so adamant about us putting our faith in Him not because He wants us to prove something to Him, but because it’s what’s best for us mentally and emotionally.
I know God tells us to trust Him. He tells us to do it over and over, presumably because He knows how difficult it is for us to do.
When it comes to God, we’re supposed to ignore every self preservation instinct we have. We’re supposed to put blind faith in someone and hope for the best, no matter how often we’ve felt neglected or even betrayed by them. We’re supposed to believe they love us not because of what they do but what they say. We’re supposed to ignore patterns and logic and put our lives in the hands of an entity that we can’t see or understand.
It drives me crazy. If one of my friends was dating someone that demanded the same of them, I’d tell them to run for the hills and never look back.
Why would God design us with a nature that seems so diametrically opposed to everything He commands of us?
Why would He make us so curious, so inquisitive, and with such a deep longing for answers that He may have no intention of sharing?
I don’t know. But I do know that we as human beings will never be able to fully comprehend a God that made mountains out of rocks, stars out of fire, oceans out of water and sunsets out of time.
Where we see the mundane, God will create meaning.
Where we see failure, God will create fortune.
Where we see brokenness, God will create beauty.
God will never be confined to operate within our limited perception of the world – and that’s a good thing.
When we surrender to God’s plan, and put our trust in Him no matter how much it challenges us, we’re not only able to open ourselves up to blessings beyond our wildest imaginations – but lay down the burdens of uncertainty and apprehension at His feet.
We’re able to silence the noise of day to day life, and remember that no matter what seems out of our control, He is ultimately in control.
I don’t know why God allowed so much chaos and confusion into my life recently. I don’t know what this hurricane has in store for me, my house or my friends. I don’t know if the roofers did their job well; I have no point of reference to judge their work. But I do know that even if He does allow tragedy into my life He can turn it into triumph, and whether or not we can understand what He wants for us we can believe it’s ultimately what’s best for us.