better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in
sickness and in health. Who knew that two weeks
ago, when David and I made these vows to each
other that we would actually be facing the worse,
poorer, and sickness all in our first week of
marriage? Or, at least the potential of these
marrying on a Sunday during worship, we were headed
the next day for our long-awaited,
desperately-needed week of rest, relaxation, and
togetherness in the mountains. But we awoke
early Monday morning to the weather news.... a
tropical storm still some distance out in the
Atlantic was expected to "bridge the gap" between
Florida and Cuba, head westward into the Gulf of
Mexico, pick up speed, become a hurricane, and
potentially make landfall in the north central Texas
gulf coast: read that, our home.
we had our first decision as husband and wife.
And as difficult as it was, we knew what we had to
do. The honeymoon would wait. And we
headed home to Galveston where we boarded up the
house as best as we could; gathered up one box full
of treasured keepsakes; packed a few clothes; and
herded the cat into a make-shift travel carrier.
Then we were off to my parents' home, to wait out
Hurricane Rita. Thankfully, we got out of town
without having to endure the inconceivable traffic
jams many of our friends had to experience.
The next day, we awoke with fevers and nasty upper
week progressed and the cone of probability of
category 5 Hurricane Rita's landfall narrowed on
our home in Galveston, we wondered, along with the
rest of the world, whether our Island would survive
the impact. Our first wedded days were
consumed by constant news coverage and the
occasional phone call to determine that our friends
were safe. Our first wedded nights were filled
with prayer and quiet conversations about the real
possibility of what our first years of marriage
would be like in the aftermath of the storm.
Well, you know the rest
of the story. Rita took a turn to the north,
and our community was spared a direct hit. In
fact, the most catastrophic damage seemed to come
from a fire in the historic district some few blocks
from our home and a block from our church, that
ignited during the height of the hurricane and
engulfed three structures before a courageous and
determined firefighting crew was able to control the
As I write this, life
is relatively back to normal in our little
community. Power is predominantly restored.
School is back in session. The grocery stores
have food on the shelves again. Folks are back
to work. A tour around town leaves only the
occasional sign of what once was... piles of
downed limbs gathered at the curbs in front of
homes; a house still clad in plywood and closed
shutters; a stoplight dangling askew from its usual
As I write this, I
realize how easy it is to fall back into the
routine; to forget the earnest midnight prayers for
strength and understanding and peace in accepting
whatever is to come; to fully partake of all the
many blessings in life, like food and drink, hot
baths, a home, cars and fuel, church buildings,
clothes, freedom, life itself, without a thought as
to the significance of being so blessed.
Yes, even as I write
this, I feel a bit of guilt for my fleeting sense of
gratitude to our gracious and loving God. As
life returns to normal, as connection to the
emotions I felt during Rita begin to fade, I find,
too, that my time spent in communication with God is
waning... dare I admit, returning to the way it
often was before the Storm.
Storms in our lives
have a tendency to draw us closer to our God.
When we are drawn into the depths, this is where we
often encounter God and see the richness of life in
God. So, I suppose I am grateful for Hurricane
Rita in some ways. David and I learned up
front what our marriage is made of and how we cope
with the tough times. We fostered new
appreciation for the conveniences we experience in
life and count them among God's many blessings.
And we recognized how much we cherish our community
of family and friends when we became scattered from
Weathering the storms
in our lives gives each of us the ability to connect
with our brothers and sisters in faith in new and
more intimate ways, to minister to each other's
needs, to truly be the body of Christ in this world.
Yes, we must be thankful, even for the storms.
Grace and peace
to you as you journey.
Yours in Christ,