I never expected to have a four-day weekend this year. Yes, I am used to my "no class on Friday" schedule but this was a shocking experience for me.
It was shocking, partly because I didn't plan for it.
I can only imagine the shock that students, parents, grandparents, young children, and infants felt all over North and South Carolina when weather forecasters started to warn that a highly dangerous hurricane was headed straight for the two states.
Talk about a shocker. Nobody planned for that.
Nobody planned to evacuate their coastal home in such a panic. Nobody planned to board up the windows of their apartment building this September. Nobody planned to throw tarps over their work computers, fearful of water damage at multiple feet above ground level. None of the students along the coast planned a weekend getaway to their parents' homes just because they were seeking refuge from their dorm rooms and apartments.
I can guarantee nobody had September 14th, 2018 marked on their calendar as "The Day Florence Hit".
Natural disasters simply aren't things that we can plan for like that. Most things in life are out of our control but when it comes to Florence, I urge all of the survivors to think themselves lucky that they went through it.
No, seriously. Be thankful.
Yes, the heartbreak of losing your home and your belongings is gut-wrenching. Going days without power is annoying. Knowing you have to rebuild your home or pay for all of the water damage is unsettling. Finding some of the most simple assets of life is not something you have to think about in your everyday life, it's definitely not going to be easy when everyone around you is trying to do the exact same thing.
I don't argue against the fact that being displaced is one of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world.
Of course, you miss those that you may have lost in the storm and its aftermath.
But if you have the blessing of reading this in the aftermath, I want you to think of yourself as lucky.
If you're reading this in the comfort of a relative's living room or the warmth of a dry hotel bed, remind yourself that you are lucky to have a place to stay, let alone Internet connection, food, and lights. If you're reading this from the only McDonald's in town that has power, remind yourself that you are lucky to have that McDonald's and the electricity that lets you contact your loved ones.
Remind yourself that you are lucky to be alive.
Remind yourself that you are lucky because so many people are worse off than you are, in all places in the world.
So, this is my prayer to you, all of you that, like myself, have survived Hurricane Florence unscathed: I pray that you remember that you are blessed. You are so incredibly blessed to be alive, to have the luxuries that so many people do not have in their daily lives.
I pray that you take the time to enjoy the book you are forced to read without the comforts of Netflix. At least you have that book and at least you can read.
I pray that you take the time to enjoy the dry cereal you "have" to eat because your refrigerator has thawed out entirely while you wait for the electric company. At least you have something to eat.
I pray that you take the time to call and check in on your family members, you're lucky to have the people that care about you the most.
In times like this, I pray that you remember to count your blessings, the big and the small.
After all, blessings aren't hurricanes because you can't categorize them by size.
But a hurricane may just be the blessing you need to remind yourself how lucky you are to live a wonderful life.
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