In September, Hurricane Irma paid us a visit in Florida. The forecast was that she would be the largest one in history and it was likely she would hit us full force as a category 4 or 5. This was the first hurricane we would encounter since moving to Florida two years ago and our level of concern was very high. We began preparing our home and property for the impact and decided it was best that we heed the mandatory evacuation notice, although some locals decided to brave the storm. We began our journey north to the panhandle at a campsite and waited for the inevitable. The waiting was the worst. Before she made landfall back home, she decided to calm down quite a bit. Ultimately, her visit was a category 2. This still was somewhat significant, especially when we live in a storm surge area and flood zone, so we anticipated the worst as we headed back when it was safe to do so. Amazingly, our home sustained only a little roof damage. As for the property, we had quite a bit of clean-up but we couldn’t complain for a minute when we considered how bad it could have been. Through this experience, I learned a lot of lessons and I would like to share a particular one with you that I hope will bring you encouragement.
As I surveyed my beloved landscape plants I had planted only a few weeks prior to Irma, most were tattered and some had blown away completely. But what struck a note with me was the lesson that unfolded in the next coming weeks. I took pictures of some of the damage to share with family back home. In the weeks that unfolded afterwards, I expected some of the damaged plants to shrivel and not survive. However, I was amazed at what I saw. The plants that had survived the storm, were now not only surviving but they were flourishing! Here are some before and after pictures:
This majestic Elephant Ear plant was shredded and most of the stalks had to be removed. But look at the new one sprouting just a couple of weeks later. And here are some pictures of one of my Bromeliads that sustained quite a beating and then began to blossom in exquisite colors!
When I counsel my high school students and we discuss hard times or struggles, I always tell them that if you reflect on your struggles, you can always learn something and that is how you grow. So, what did I learn from Irma? Irma reminded me that enduring storms and struggles makes you stronger, encourages growth, and, if you can hold on through the storm, something beautiful can come out of it. I hope you find encouragement in this, too, and remember that storms don’t last forever.
Thanks for reading!