Recently I had the pleasure of spending some of my vacation in Massachusetts. The experience was lovely overall, but the first few days of my time away were focused on Tropical Storm Isaias. My brother, my sister and I were checking radar and weather reports regularly. Each time we looked, the forecast was different: hurricane force winds one day, the next “only” tropical storm gusts, flooding probable, until a few check-ins later when the rainfall predictions were drastically reduced. The changing predictions were all due to the variations in tracking the path of the storm. Some models did not bode well for us. Other possibilities were less punishing.
When the storm did hit, it was bad—although not as bad as in some other places (and certainly not as devastating as Hurricane Laura’s effects on the Gulf Coast). Some furniture blew around and a window shattered, but miraculously we did not lose power. It was frightening, though. And, in the moment, beyond our ability to overcome.
So, at the height of it all we coped according to our personalities and roles in the family. After making sure the rowboat and canoe were securely moored, my brother, an entrepreneurial filmmaker, kept going outside to check on a camera he had strapped to a tree to record the event. My sister, an educator, gathered the younger cousins together and gave them small tasks to take their minds off their fears. I busied myself reaching out to nearby relatives to make sure they were OK and planned cooking contingencies in case we had no electricity (that would have been the least of our problems if the storm had been catastrophic, but I must have assumed that even in a crisis, dinner was non-negotiable!).
An actual storm is a pretty blunt metaphor for the non-barometric chaos we all experience. Still, as we continue to live into the various forms of tumult swirling around us it might be helpful to remember that God has created within us the raw materials we need to respond. In any and all destabilizing experiences we always have opportunity to contribute—not necessarily “solve” or “fix,” but contribute—to possibilities grounded in the Gospel values of faith, hope and love. Doing so does not promise the outcomes we may desire, but it does ensure our ongoing connection to the One who makes all things new.