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One of the things I like best about living in a small town is that people tend to be kind, generous and helpful.
Like most of you, I stocked up on essentials in preparation for Hurricane Florence earlier this week. Staples like bread and water were scarce; strewn shopping carts and frantic people were not. Yet in the midst of the pandemonium, shoppers were helping one another find cases of water and canned items placed throughout the store. I went to the gas station, and while filling my car’s tank ever-so-slowly from the pump, I had a nice conversation with a few other customers. We didn’t talk about politics, world news or religion. We just checked in with each other.
“Do you have trees close to your house?”
“My kid is pretty scared. What about yours?”
“My dog knows something is happening.He’s been acting pretty strange.”
Storms can cause a lot of fear. We have to do whatever is possible to ensure our safety, whether we are in our homes, staying with relatives or friends, or taking cover in a shelter. That is paramount. However, in especially uncertain times, I take great comfort in Scripture, particularly Matthew 8:24-27:
“And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
I pray Florence will move through the area swiftly and not cause a lot of flooding and damage. However, I’m sure if this storm should do its worst, we will come together as a community to clean up and make sure our most vulnerable residents have everything they need. We will clear leaves and limbs from our neighbors’ yards and donate items to people who lose their possessions. We will find shelter for people who lose their homes. That’s who we are.
So, I hope that, if possible, you will take time during the storm to take care of yourself. Generous people have to replenish their own wells in order to pour into others. Once you’ve bunkered down and have everything you need, do something nice for yourself. Read a good book. Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to catch on Netflix (if you have electricity). Play board and card games with your family. Create a playlist on your phone, and have a dance party.
I plan to pamper myself a little by doing my hair and giving myself a manicure. I’m going to have a glass of wine and hang out with my husband.
Let’s make the most of this time cooped up with our families. The storm may rage outside, but we can “let God do His work” as my grandmother used to say, rest and create lasting memories.
When the storm is over, we will assess the damage and do what we do best — check on each other, clean up whatever mess was made and continue the work to make our neighborhoods and community the best they can be.
LaMonique Hamilton Barnes is a reporter and copy editor for The Wilson Times. She blogs about arts and culture at iamlamonique.com.