God is here, God is near; posted by Barbara B. a co-writier of the Women Move it Forward Blog
This past month has been a whirlwind for me as for much of the nation. Hurricanes, fires, drought, floods and other natural disasters occurred disrupting our day to day lives. Politicians that were “mean spirited, uncaring and dispassionate” began to seem like the norm. And if I were to only read or hear the news I’d think our society was on the brink of disaster.
Yet during this stressful time, what I observed was love, care and helpfulness. Neighbors helping neighbors. Strangers giving a gallon or two of gas to another in need. Houses opening up for the ones unable to find a roof over their head. Humanity, the basic need to get along and help each was alive and well. I can report that it is not gone. Human kindness is a condition of the heart that cannot be dictated or directed by the government. I thank God for that.
I prepared for Irma, a category 2-4 hurricane coming to visit me in central Florida. There was no welcome mat laid out for her but if she landed on my doorstep I wanted to be ready. I had plenty of water, set my water troughs under the barn roof so they would collect the runoff for livestock water (and bathing water), canned beans, fruits and vegetables, snacks, dog and horse food. I filled my bathtub with a bladder for fresh water, had extra solar lights for night time luminescence, batteries and gas for the generator. Windows were covered with plywood and all material not tied down was in the garage or barn. I only wished that the worst of the storm would hit in the daylight, as I have a fear of tornados and did not want to experience them while in the dark.
The storm started up around 8:00 pm and not much later our electric was out. That is when I leaned my radio did not work, even with fresh batteries, so I was unable to receive current forecasts. For me that was the worse, not knowing what was going on or how long it was expected to last. I did know that they had predicted the eye of the storm to come over us around 5:30 in the morning and so I waited. During the hurricane, we would have brief lulls from the wind and rain. During such times, when I was able, I ran outside to check on the animals, the large oak trees near the house and the transformer pole at the roadside. During one of these lulls, I heard the tree frogs (peepers) start to croak a song. I thought I had heard them before but paid them little attention.
As they got louder and louder, the toads, frogs and peepers all started singing a crazy chorus. In unison with a definite rhythm and beat. As soon as they stopped the sideward rain and whipping hurricane winds would come at us full force again. This continued throughout the night. Wind, rain, quiet and then the loud ruckus of the peepers and frogs. At some point during the night, I said to myself, what are they saying? And in an instance I knew. “God is here, God is near”; over and over again. In that sing-song croaking baritone with one outdoing the other they shouted their message. As the storm pressed on, branches and limbs flew by, rain pelleted the windows and I would say to myself, calming my nerves and heart, “God is here, God is near”. This is how I got through the night till dawn, counting my blessings and singing their song.
Was the hurricane difficult. Yes. Did the 12+ inches of rain make a mess? Yes. Was it unbearable, horrible, miserable? No. All I had to do was look around and see others in much worse straights than me. I’d repeat to myself “God is here, God is near” and count my blessings, one by one. Yes I had extra work, trees down and fences to mend. Yes, it was hot and humid. Yes there were animals to move to water and others to take in because their owners could not care for them. Yes, I had a mess, but that was all it was. And after 5 days I could drive to town for gas and go to the library to catch up on email or make phone calls. The calls I made were not to just chit-chat. They were to catch up with others and see how they were faring. What could I do to assist and how could I lend a helping hand?
Later, I saw hundreds of telephone and power linemen working around the clock. We brought them food and what water we had to say thank you. I learned it took 3-4 days to get down here because the roads were so crowded and many of them slept in their trucks too tired to go to a motel. I saw neighbors helping neighbors and heard chain saws buzzing throughout the night. When our generator went out, our neighbor brought an extra one they had to try and keep our freezer going. That did not work but then a friend said she had a whole house generator and an empty freezer and I was more than welcome to fill it. In the process I supplied them with plenty of meat for their family and friends that evacuated from the storm.
I was without electricity for 6 days. I was without phone service and internet for over two weeks. Yet the day after the hurricane, as I was picking up branches, there on a fence post was a pecan that had recently been shucked and eaten by a squirrel. Was this another sign to me? Was nature saying, get on with life, count your blessings and aren’t we lucky to do so? Yes, I said as I bowed my head to mother nature in all her wisdom.
I learned that talking to, sharing what you have and helping each other is the best way to get through a storm. I suspect it is the best way to get through any mess that life throws you. Oh, and don’t forget to count your blessings and listen for the song of the wild, God is here, God is near.
Barbara is a Equine Gestalt Coaching Method practitioner, a retired Professional Engineer and Qi Gong Instructor as well as owner/operator of Wayfinding With Horses, LLC, (WWH.biz). But mostly she is a woman who loves and listens to nature and her horses and shares their wisdom with others. She offers clients the opportunity to find and align their inner compass through an experiential process where they choose to move forward, heal and fully engage with life. Barbara works at Wayfinding Farm, located near Ocala Florida.