I was 9 years old when hurricane Elena sat off the west coast of FL for days. At only a cat 1 it obviously wasn’t anything compared to Irma. And yet, as a 9 year old little girl having to leave my house and all my prized stuffed animals, it was terrifying. I remember trying to be brave as I watched my parents packing up what they could, but I couldn’t stop shaking and trembling. My dad, noticing my fear, drew me into his arms and said:
Sugar, it’s ok to cry. This is really scary. So let’s sit here for just a minute and be scared together, ok? I want you to let out all that fear and all those tears and I will hold you tight.
And I did, grateful for the permission to stop trying to be brave for a minute.
Then after several minutes, as the tears began to slow, he said: Now, we’re gonna take a big deep breath, hold it for a second and blow it out. And when we blow it out we are going to pray and thank God for being with us, ask Him to give us courage and strength, ask Him to protect us and those we love, and then we are going to get up and go.
“Ready?” he asked.
I nodded my head and together we took a deep, steadying breath before getting up to head to safety.
Florida we cry with you, we pray with you and we take a collective deep breath with you. And while you go about your preparations, those of us who are not in harm’s way, will stay here on our knees in prayer, praying for mercy, for a miracle, for protection.
Floridians, you are stronger than you know, braver than you feel, and most importantly you are not alone!!
Praying without ceasing for the state I love so very much.