“There are no atheists in foxholes,”
Father William T. Cummings
It’s been a week of chaos. Making preparations for the storm, counting bottles of water, tuna cans, lanterns and the like. Our hurricane impact windows had not yet arrived so we were stuck- do we stay here or head to mom’s? Mom and Dad are only thirty minutes away, father south actually, but they had hurricane shutters, a MUST for a human being who has decided to make South Florida home. We decided to go to mom and dads.
Experiencing a hurricane as a teenager or an adult without children is one thing, but experiencing it with three little ones is quite another. We told them to gather their most precious things, the ones they just couldn’t live without, and place them in a bag. There wasn’t a lot of time for explaining or talking as time was running out. It was Friday, and this monster was supposed to be here sooner rather than later.
It is hard to explain to a child that our house might be gone or your things washed away. I grabbed my most precious things too- nanny’s perfume bottles and tray, my wedding album and the album my cousin had made of nanny. Funny enough, everything I grabbed was nanny’s except for my wedding album. Nothing else really mattered to me.
While I was finishing gathering the items we were to pack before saying goodbye to the house, my husband gathered the kids, holding hands, they said a prayer. It was the sweetest and the saddest thing I’ve ever seen all at the same time. Things don’t matter, my husband said, we have each other. My eldest who is only eight shook her head in agreement as tears streamed down her face. You’re right daddy, she said, none of it matters.
Those are the small moments where God lets you see the beginnings of the ripest of fruits.
We left knowing that we may not have a house. But I was ok with that. I am there now, in that place. The one that people only dream about.
We were shuttered in for three days at mom and dad’s. Late nights, lots of hurricane food and laughs. Spending time with my mom was awesome, just her and I, and I will cherish it forever. God has taught me all these things. God and Mother Teresa. Small things, moments, do each with love. Sometimes service is simply presence, a state of being joyful with someone you love. That was certainly the case this weekend.
Lights out soon after the storm we made the best of it. Little sleep, but lots of time together. Again I looked at the preciousness of it all. I cherished the moments I had with my family, all five of us and the two dogs snuggled safely in a guest room, mom and dad next door. We were together and unharmed and that’s all that mattered.
We spent the day today in clean up mode, working all day until most of the debris was cleared. Cold showers felt good and a proud mamma watching all three of her kids help with the clean up effort. Dinner on the bbq and a loud generator powering up the fridge, wondering if power was ever going to come… and then it did! Out of nowhere one single light at 9:45 p.m. Mom and dad, head over here!!!
So an hour later after prepping my house, I returned the favor and mom and dad came, hot meals and showers, cozy bed and most importantly air conditioning! I am so glad God allowed me to take care of them. The rosary couldn’t have been any sweeter today, the Joyful mysteries!
Kids fell asleep before the electric turned on, and I couldn’t resist taking a snapshot. Once again all seven of us (dogs included) huddled up in one room.
God is good. Without my faith I would be nothing. I held onto Mary and Jesus like a life raft, as they assured me everything would be o.k., and it was. In a small moment of despair, my eldest at the outset said she was afraid. I gently reminded her of how many times God tells us, Do not be afraid! She smiled and remembered, it was all true.
I also could not have made it through without Father Daniel Mode (although he doesn’t know it). I read his book, The Grunt Padre, cover to cover in the dark with a flashlight (they seem to be out of it everywhere but if you feel led and want it, I’ll send you my copy, just email me!). I may not have been in Vietnam, but I certainly wasn’t in a very safe place. His words gently eased my mind as I read about Father Vincent Capodanno and his heroism during the Vietnam war (A must read by the way, and as you all know I don’t get paid for plugging anyone!).
So there is the story of God, who He is and what He did for me… and oh yeah I have photo documentation to prove it!