Uprooted in the Storm

Hurricane Matthew uprooted our family recently. When the governor of South Carolina told us to evacuate, I was not surprised. Having lived in South Carolina now for a total of 16 years, I was no stranger to a hurricane evacuation.

Thankfully, I missed Hugo in 1989. That was the last catastrophic storm before my time here. I experienced the joy of evacuating during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and remembered the horror stories told to me by my friends having to sit in traffic on the I-26 for 24 hours trying to escape. I was lucky enough to have left early that time.

A lot of other people must have remembered the same thing that I did, as the interstate was quite crowded when we hit the road in the early morning hours. It took us three hours to make the drive to Columbia when it should have been only two. This time I heard how quickly and easily the trip to Columbia would have been if I had waited because they reversed all the lanes and streamlined the process. I personally think that it was not as crowded because less people evacuated. I know that many of my friends and neighbors stayed behind this time.

When we were given the all clear to return to our homes, the roads were packed with back to back automobiles but we were anxious to see if everything was as we left it.

One of the trees in our backyard had become uprooted from the storm and was leaning over. The earth had cracked beneath it as the roots strained to be freed from the soil.

We finally got on the waiting list for two different tree specialists. As you can imagine, they were very busy. We had to fill out an application with our homeowner’s association to have the tree removed. Then we had to fill out an application for a permit with the city to have the tree removed. They want money for permit fees of course.

An inspector for the city still has to come look at the tree and approve it. Yes, we are still waiting. We have agreed to pay a very large amount of money to one of the tree specialists to remove the tree. Agreeing to that, gave us the privilege of getting on another list, because they have a lot of customers in line to pay them a lot of money for their services.

It is all a bit ridiculous. Too much paperwork and too much money. It is times like this that I wish I lived in the country and I could just buy a chainsaw and cut it down myself. No kidding.

I have to remind myself to be thankful though because even though I am lamenting the amount of money that I am going to have to pay to fix this tree problem, there are people whose houses are being flooded by the rising water after the hurricane as I write this and they are losing everything: family photos and precious memories, and having to start all over again. I am blessed and I will be thankful. I will be thankful. I keep repeating it.

My life has been uprooted before. People that I trust, let me down. Sometimes causing catastrophic situations inside my home and my heart. I have to remember in those situations to remain thankful as well.

It’s not easy. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to beat my fists against the wall. Why is life so unfair? It’s not heaven. That’s for sure.

I guess that’s why. It’s earth. And earth is filled with storms and crazy people. Selfish people. And people you can’t trust. We aren’t supposed to trust people. The Bible says that man will always let you down. We are supposed to trust God. (Psalms 118:8)

He is there, through it all, every time, through every catastrophe. Whether it is a hurricane or a flood, or a broken heart and broken dreams.

Sometimes people have trouble trusting God. People put “If you love Jesus, type Amen,” on their Facebook pages. Then you scroll down and see curse words and bitter memes and other ugly stuff. You think to yourself, why would I want to be a Christian, when so many people who say they are Christians are fake?

I get that. Believe me. I hate labels. I often wish they didn’t exist because they mess up so much stuff. So many good intentions. So many good people. Destroyed by labels.

Just love God and love on others even when they don’t deserve it. That’s all we can really do. That’s what a real Christian looks like. They won’t have to tell you that they are a Christian. You will know it by the way they act. They won’t pick and choose, who they are nice to. You have to humble yourself to love everyone, and realize that what God wants us to do is more important than what we want to do.

And it doesn’t matter to anybody but God, who the real Christians are. He’s the only one holding the important scorebook. The Book of Life. (Revelation 20:15) Is your name really written in it? Because putting it on Facebook doesn’t count.

We won’t be here long. Might as well do as much good as we can before we leave.

God’s roots won’t fail in the storm. He won’t lie to you. Or ever leave you. And I can trust Him. You can trust Him. What else do we need? Just cling to Him and we’ll get through the storms. Sending hugs to all of you.