490 – Hurricanes in Perspective: The Inconveniences of Affluence
Dear friends who have been hard hit by Sandy, we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers and send the help we can.
In 2004 we had three back-to-back devastating hurricanes pelt Central Florida. Here is part of an editorial I wrote for our local paper at the time…
First, Hurricane Charley toppled our trees, pulled the plug on our power, cut our cable, interrupted our Internet access, and crippled our cell phones. At our house we had no power for a week, no phone for two weeks, and no cable television or email for 19 days. Then just a few days later, on September 5, the fury of Frances finished off what the chutzpa of Charley began. And then on September 25th Hurricane Jeanne struck.
If that wasn’t enough, the “normal” setbacks of our lives did not abate. For me, the motherboards on both of my computers failed. On a trip to Atlanta, our car started lurching. As I limped along the Interstate at 20 mph, I called a friend on my cell. He said, “Wow, you’ve really been hit with a lot of problems.”
I’ve thought a lot about what he said. At the time, I thought about having a pity party, but decided against it. Yes, I’d been surrounded by inconvenience. I felt like I was living in a refugee camp. But on reflection, it’s a pretty upscale refugee camp. Honestly, these were not problems. These were the inconveniences of affluence. There are people in the world who have real problems: starving people in Africa, the poor in Haiti, the victims of hate and violence in America. And many fellow Floridians lost homes, not just trees. Those are real problems.
I marvel at the maturity of my neighbors and the citizens of Greater Orlando. Instead of whining about their inconveniences, they reached out and ministered to their neighbors. Teams of men showed up to clear debris. Long extension cords stretched from the haves to the homes of have nots. This is not to say that inconveniences are not inconvenient. They just need to be put into perspective–as so many people have done. Congratulations to our governments, churches, corporations, and fellow citizens. Good job.
We know you are in a terrible situation, but please rest assured the rest of the nation is praying for you and many more volunteers are on the way.