Hurricane Michael Damage In The Florida Panhandle
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Don't Forget The People Of The Florida Panhandle

The Florida panhandle is facing devastating wreckage beyond comprehension as we sit cozy in our homes.

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Don't Forget The People Of The Florida Panhandle
Erin Powe

I don't know about you, but I kinda forgot about the devastation of the hurricane that snapped half the trees growing on the panhandle of Florida.

Thoughts of the hurricane were largely limited to news coverage and hard rain and were shelved a few days after the storm passed through.

But the residents of the area won't be forgetting anytime soon, or ever.

The opportunity to help presented itself last weekend, and we drove down for a day. The damage was worse than I imagined or really comprehended from the pictures. Boats up on beaches. Electrical lines tangled across the pavement. Roofs missing. Precious belongings, now reduced to trash and scattered everywhere.

But it wasn't the degree of the damages so much as the extent. Hit every house, every street, every wood, every beach. Some just fared better than others. Comparable is a tornado a hundred or more miles wide.

My family spent our one day picking up roof shingles in two backyards; they backed up to a downed wooded area, from which I pulled a couple of chairs. The backyard fences were in pieces, whole poles were missing, snapped clean off at ground level. One of the neighbors recounted how she had shut herself up in the house, hiding away inside two-by-fours and bricks as the storm approached. The storm was wild terror and fear; she thought she would die in her house. Objects flying, shingles shedding, trees cracking, wind and rain roaring.

Erin Powe

On that street, clean up was still in progress for most. Will be for some time. It'll take years for people to rebuild, for trees to grow, but the scars and the memories will forever be marked on hearts.

However, there is beauty blooming from the hurricane. Neighbors are lending a hand and forming friendships. Folks are driving from near and far to help, to be there. Hardship shared with hope often means strong relationships formed. There is a spirit of goodwill and joy even in the sadness of belongings in shambles.

Because they weren't what really mattered anyway, the things.

We cling to our possessions so tightly and find that we can live without when they are ripped away.

We can grow in bitterness for what has been taken or

grow in gratitude for what has been given, what we are still blessed with, our lives, our families, our friends.

Big storms hurt, but they can heal as well, breaking illusions and breaking idols.

Too often there is a false sense of security in our lives and a feeling of entitlement. I know I am guilty of this.

Erin Powe

Hug your people tighter. And pray for the panhandle. It is truly bizarre down there, like a war zone. Pray for the residents, for the workers, the volunteers, the linemen, for restoration and redemption. And maybe lend a hand as well. There is still a long road to go until life is somewhat normalized and calm. Some kids aren't in schools; many aren't in houses.

So, don't forget. What was an interrupted or exciting week in one life is an interrupted year, a changed life, for another. A lot has been lost, and many are hurting as we meander through our busy days.

Erin Powe

When the hurricanes come, not just in actuality, but figuratively, what will we hold? What are we gonna grab for? What will hold us down? There's nothing that will stay in our hands when the wind comes clattering, breaking all we've built, or when death knocks the front door down. We aren't promised anything in this life, nothing but the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ.

Hug tightly but hold loosely.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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