“I’m too sick to drive.” She cried.
“I don’t care if you have to drive with a garbage can beside you! “ I snapped at her. If I could have grabbed her through the phone and forced my daughter, Megan, into the car I would have.
“ You get your cat, and a garbage can and get across the bridge right now before it closes and you are trapped! Hurricane Katrina has strengthened to Class 5. You do what I say or you might not live to argue with me again!”
After Megan graduated from high school she moved to Biloxi where she and her brother had spent many summers of childhood at their grandparents home on the Back Bay. They had grown up with their cousins as their best friends. Pulling crab traps with uncles was as common and delightful as ice cream on a hot summer day.
She had enrolled at Tulane and even made the Dean’s list a couple of times while working at a bank to help with tuition (which gives me great joy to proclaim to you the reader, a mom’s brag rights)
But Katrina was imminent, and this was no time for her to be an independent thinker. She had better do what I said and leave before the Mobile Bridge connecting her to Montgomery closed.
The three hour trip took five but she arrived weak and in need of medical attention. After a steroid injection and a bag of fluids, the emergency room had her early season case of the flu under control.
She and I sat on the couch most of that night watching the Weather Channel, wondering about the conditions of her family, still in the Biloxi area. Twenty-four hours passed and there was no word from any of them. If they were safe and unharmed they would not be able to get a message to us because all cell towers, Internet and phone lines were down.
Forty-eight hours after the storm had sent its tsunami of salt water a mile inland, we heard from Megan’s dad.
Through static we heard his on voice mail, “I’m on a roof, its 2 in the morning. It’s bad. Dead bodies and trees are all over the road going to Grandpa’s house. The house and everything in it are gone. Everyone in our family survived.” Then the message ended.
Everything was gone. The figurines from Germany and Italy, all good pots and pans collected over the years, pictures of children and weddings and those who are no longer with us – a lifetime, all gone in a single night.
Shock – that is the first reaction. Just speechless, shock. The water that had given so much joy and life and memories had also given us the greatest grief we had ever known.
Two weeks later, when we heard it was safe for Megan to return, we sent bottled water, blankets, food and we iced down tetanus vaccine to be given to the children.
She arrived at her apartment that she moved into two weeks before Katrina hit. The roof was peeled back like the top on a can of sardines. Her upstairs bedroom was soaking wet, but in God’s mercy, the down stairs was dry. The apartment she moved out of before the storm no longer existed. Only a slab of concerted marked the place it once stood.
The next day a church with a large trailer was driving through neighborhoods handing out supplies. Megan grabbed water, diapers and wet wipes for her neighbor who had two children and was at work that day.
Our church sent Megan a check to help her. She promptly took the check to the bank, and then went to the store. She purchased some cleaning supplies and non-perishables for herself, and then used the rest of the money to help those in the apartment complex. More diapers, baby food, water, stuffed animals and a few dollar tree t-shirts for those who had no clean clothing to wear.
The enemy of love is not hate, it is fear. Fear says we must care for ourselves because no one else will.
Love is never easy. It requires courage to sacrifice, because sacrifice frequently means pain – and we avoid pain in an attempt to survive.
Love means we say no to some of our own desires so we can bring good to others.
“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38
When we accept that we are loved beyond measure, it is easier to find the courage to truly love others as we have been loved.
It can take us awhile to go from speaking and teach about the love of God to allow ourselves to accept that we are loved. When we accept Love then we can open our hands to give away, because we know we cannot out give the one who loves us best.
How have you rooted out fear and with courage, shown love?
Latest posts by Diane W. Bailey (see all)
- What God Can Do with A Shattered Heart - September 5, 2022
- When It Is Time to Bring Your Ship Ashore - January 2, 2018
- Art Of Hospitality – How to Love Others As Ourselves - November 27, 2017
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