Hurricane Andrew made landfall 30 years ago today in southern Florida. Days later it would skirt the Gulf of Mexico before going inland in Louisiana. I would have been three years old, turning four in October, but I still distinctly remember this storm as the first real “storm” of my childhood.
My parents made a big deal out of it, too. In hindsight, they’re probably the reason this concreted itself in my mind, though it easily could have been the fact the storm was as rough as it was. They had decided that while the storm passed, we would take refuge in the Den, which was a converted garage space. It was also further away from any of the massive trees that surrounded my childhood home, and it had an old fashioned wood-burning heater, so if power went out, we could use that as an alternative cooker.
I remember the storm, itself. Well, bits and pieces of it. I remember strong-enough winds to make the roof creak, and I remember hearing the limbs of the magnolia tree slap against the window unit in the room between the kitchen and the hallway to the bedrooms. I remember being terrified, and my parents telling me that the storm would be over soon. That brought me comfort. That’s the extent of my memories. Better than one would think, but I think that lays out just how much of a memory it was for me.
As I’ve passed into adulthood, fatherhood, and middle-age (not quite, alright?) I’ve also realized that storms are very different and not all of them have anything to do with the weather, and everything to do with our personal lives.
If you were raised in church, or around God-fearing people at all. You’ve heard that one grandmother, or maybe pastor, or maybe even your own mother mention that the “storm will be over soon” and that God is your “shelter in the storm”. I subscribe to both of those opinions, but on a more secular level, there’s a quote that resonates with me deeply: This too, shall pass.
And it will.
I don’t know what your personal storms are; your triumphs, your losses, your highs, your lows, the mountains and the valleys. I do know that you’ll be through them sooner than you realize. Remember that by the time you realize you’re in a storm, it’s usually already halfway over, and the end is in sight.
Gray and black storm clouds roil and tumble overhead. The wind blows. Rain floods. Hail damages. But this too, shall pass. Life decisions are hard. Loved ones are often affected — sometimes, deeply. But this too, shall pass. The beautiful thing is that there is sunshine behind the storm. Even at night, the glow of the moon is a reminder that the sun hasn’t gone away.
So right now, if you’re in the storm just remember: You don’t have to be strong, you just have to hold on. Because this too, shall pass.