The cars are sheltered, fridge is full, and all outdoor furniture has been moved inside. All known, necessary preparations have been made.
As I write this, Hurricane Ian is slowly but steadily creeping our way. It’s a very fluid situation with much embedded uncertainty, but the current projections have the Category 3 — soon to be 4 — storm making landfall in Florida on Wednesday. We are inland somewhat — which minimizes the storm surge. Massive winds, rain and flooding are still expected. Allow me to rephrase; consequential damage is expected.
Gov. DeSantis has declared a state of emergency. Schools are closed. Disney is closing… Publix soon, as well. The water has been depleted from the stores’ typically plentiful shelves. I’m assuming the toilet paper is gone, too.
Let me first share prayers of safety for all in harm’s way. God be with you. Near or far. These storms are nothing to mess around with. They are significant and dangerous.
But let me second share briefly what I appreciate today…
Today was different. I mean, I’ll be honest; most days in Florida are pretty good. There’s just something about sunshine and warmth that seems to positively impact the mood of those around you.
But today was different.
Sure, there were plans made and closures announced and lots of last minute store runs and scavenger hunts for the water and toilet paper.
But there was more.
People were out.
They were talking.
They were walking.
There were more out getting their last typically daily walks in, knowing such will be hard to make happen in the next 72 hours.
There were more out on the streets and sidewalks, just breathing in a bit before the rain begins to fall.
And amidst those walks and talks and impromptu gatherings on the sidewalks and streets, there were well wishes…
“Be safe… take care… Need anything? Let me know… You have my cell, right?… Text, call if something goes wrong…”
In other words today was a manifestation of authentic community that we sometimes take for granted… that we don’t always see.
It doesn’t matter that to each we encountered this day there are different perspectives on the economy, on abortion, on crime and immigration. Let me repeat: it doesn’t matter.
Today was a day where community mattered most. And we knew it and saw it and it was beautiful.
As I pen and soon post, I just glanced outside once more. The rain has begun. Just a sprinkle for the moment, friends.
But we will weather the storm, knowing there is something that always means more…
Blessings… and a special shout out to those impacted by Ian… yes, blessings, indeed…