Hurricane Michael Grew our hearts three sizes

(Sorry, going to be long)FB_IMG_1540353358356
I know everyone is either still shell shocked or running around like crazy people trying to navigate our new norm…
I have to say in all this I have had some of my highest highs and lowest lows. I have cried more in the past week than my entire life for my community.
It is a strange place we all find ourselves in. You always think you know how you will act during a crisis/disaster but until it happens we just really don’t know how we will deal or what part of our personality will come to the surface. We all hope we will rise to the occasion but the truth of the matter is we are all fragile and well… human.
I have always been one that prefers to see the beauty in everything after all that is a much better way to look at things – it is so much less stressful.
But, when you look at the destruction, the lost and desperate looks in the eyes of your neighbors, and see a foreign landscape in a place you knew like the back of your hand how does one keep seeing beauty?
I tell you I see beauty more now than ever before it is powerful and everywhere.
Yes, there is and will always be heartache, damage, losses, and pain it is everywhere and we would have to be blind to not see it – but to focus on that can literally lock you down in reverse.
When I look at the once proud and beautiful tree that stood like a sentinel in front of my home – that is now broken, tattered, and damaged beyond saving… I see beauty as it saved my home and I can only give thanks instead of morn the loss. ****We will plant more!
When I look at my once bustling and beautiful community thinking back to being in long lines to get to work – I have to ask myself did I once look into the vehicle next to me? The beauty I now see is in all the windows rolled down no matter the weather. Seeing people waving to everyone, offering help, handing bottles of water out those once rolled up window/walls we all in the past known as our norm. Strangers are now neighbors and our last case of water we give out means as much to the giver AND the receiver. ****We will rebuild better!
FB_IMG_1540353538374Think back on how many times we walked thru a store not greeting a soul, ate in silence at a restaurant, came home and vegged out in front of the TV, spent most of our weekends entertaining ourselves, saw a pet wondering down the road not giving a second thought, witnessed sadness but looked the other way, went months or longer without talking to our neighbors, heard a need and figured there’s surely someone already helping, saw a plea for assistance on social media and kept scrolling, had the ability to offer a company discount but decided against it after running the ‘numbers’, and so many more actions we have taken in our previous numbed norm existence.
Now, in our new norm, we greet everyone! Honk to show thanks to linemen and first responders, share our table at a restaurant because they are the only ones open and there’s a line, come home and check in with neighbors to see if they need anything, spend our weekends volunteering and helping others, see a pet wondering and bring them home until their family is found, witness sadness and reach out to help even if it is just a hug, heard a need and immediately offered help along with the other dozen responding, saw a plea and not only shared but offered assistance, have the ability to offer a discount but instead choose to give 150 meals for free – offer free tire repairs – not charge for the cases of water in your store – buy dozens of pizzas and take them to a neighborhood – share your generator instead of powering only your needs – pull into a Wendys parking lot just to pay for the meals of the Army reserves deployed here – check on a customer needing pest control and cut a tree down while you are there – help with an inspection needed and take their trash when you leave because you have the means to dispose of it – drive to another town in your community just to see if anyone needs help – buy a case of water for your family and 6 more to hand out on the way home – THIS I have seen, and done, and so much more it brings me to my knees, tears streaming down my face, and heart swelling like the grinch on Christmas growing three sizes bigger! ****We WILL come out on the other side stronger and better.Panhandle grew three sizes
So yes, there is sadness, pain, and destruction – but there is so much more giving, healing, rebuilding, supporting, and yes so much more BEAUTY in our little community that has grown three sizes bigger from the support we are receiving and the locals becoming true neighbors and real friends. Would I wish this on anyone for the outcome we are now benefiting from – no, but it is here and we are becoming a better community because of it.
To all who read this all the way to the end – Thank you for being my friends. Wave and share a hug when we next pass – I will welcome it and greet you like family in our new and beautiful community.
#850Strong #PanhandleStrong #CommunityStrong #Bless you each and every one of you πŸ’•πŸ™πŸ€— XOXO

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