Facing the giant named Irma

From the Heart

My mind knows the scripture Psalms 62:2: “He only is my rock and my salvation. My stronghold. I shall not be shaken.”

I’ve read that scripture many times. It has been one of my “go to” scriptures when my life hit rough waters.

This week rough waters hit, literally . . . Hurricane Irma. And I admit, I am a bit shaken.

Chuck and I have been in Tampa all week visiting our children and grandchildren who live there. What was supposed to be a week of fun and relaxation was anything but that.

Emily and her family moved there the first of August. This is their first hurricane, predicted to be the largest in Florida history.

Chuck and I helped prepare our house where Emily, Drew, Aiden and Leah are staying until their house, in Fishers, sells.

On Tuesday, we began standing in long lines for cases of water. Two per cart were handed out as the line twisted down the main aisle of Walmart to the back of the store and then up the meat aisle.

We shopped early on Wednesday and we were thankful that we did, as by Thursday evening the shelves were barren that held cans of vegetables or anything that could be heated on a gas grill or simply opened and eaten. Peanut butter . . . gone. Applesauce and individual fruit . . . none.

It was even more bizarre than when a blizzard is predicted here.

We stopped by Home Depot where only one generator remained. The plywood aisle was jammed with people. Sadly, there were few pieces of wood left there.

We waited in line at the gas station to gas up Emily’s car after going by three stations that had signs, “NO GAS.” We actually passed a station and saw a tanker filling up the tanks and we did a quick U-turn to be one of the first to get gas.

Chuck said he had never had his house take a direct hit since it was built in 1989. We pray it is still standing after Irma knocks on its door.

We made sure there were candles, batteries, wipes, flashlights etc. Believe me, we know the list and all the suggestions.

Then on Friday our flight left after four delays. That’s right, we came back home as we were scheduled to do. It is always bittersweet to leave but this time it was just bitter. When Emily dropped us off I quickly went inside the airport to catch my breath . . . and wipe the tears.

This was hard.

And so now we wait and we pray.

It’s Saturday morning and the reports have gotten worse. Tampa will take a direct hit. 100+ mph winds and eight-foot water surges.

Emily and Drew are evacuating to a friend’s house in Satellite Beach on the east side of Florida. He just built it to withstand a hurricane. It is furnished but not yet sold. They have packed their car with necessities that were quickly gathered up.

Chuck’s sons and their families are hunkering down in their homes in Tampa . . . so far.

Chuck and I feel helpless. We just wait and worry and pray.

“Lord be with our families and please do not let them be shaken.”

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