As a another major storm nears in such a short time I find myself reflecting upon the strength and determination of people, creatures, Mother Nature. Hurricane Harvey lingered dropping seemingly endless rains, Irma with her size brought her own level of destruction, and now Hurricane Maria follows gaining strength as she heads toward another place where friends and loved ones have homes and lives. And once again, we are wondering, “What’s going to happen?”. And once again, we are left with the knowledge that we are not in control of what’s coming, but we are in control of being prepared as best as we can because, in this case, we have a little warning. Sometimes we don’t. And, so is life. Rebuilding comes in so many forms. After storms we rebuild homes and communities, sometimes lives. After losing a job, we rebuild by searching for another or sometimes even creating our own. After losing a loved one, we muster up whatever strength we can find to work up the will to breathe fully again, put one foot in front of the other by shear force of habit, and begin process of finding the new “normal”. And when we lose a relationship, it’s the same. Some people are blessed to only be going through one thing at a time, but more often than not… when it rains it pours.

“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart.

The storm will pass. And, with it the old brush will be blown off and, hopefully, away. The remaining branches may be bedraggled and raw immediately after, but the remaining leaves will be shinier and greener from the rains. Time will reorient the branches and they’ll find their way back to order. The new blue sky will be bright and the air will bring a freshness. Birds and other creatures return to their usual places to resume their usual activities. There will be some debris that will need to be picked up to be burned, thrown away, taken away. Left there, we risk getting our feet caught in it in the future and we’ll curse the storm again because we didn’t complete the recovery. Sounds of rebuilding can be heard in the distance- hammering, chainsaws, tangled branches being cut off and dragged away. Neighbors chattering when they haven’t spoken in months, years, or maybe ever at all before all his. And we learn about how others experienced the storm this time. How they rebuilt from past storms in a different place, in a different life. We learn that it is possible and we are not alone. Sometimes we just have to reach out. We come to know of those who are still experiencing the after effects of the storm, loss of power or water, generators continuing their seemingly incessant roar, if a home is so blessed to have one. Tarps, like bandages, indicate areas of vulnerability. We carry on the painstaking task of rebuilding, because really that’s all we can do for now. Even when it seems like there is nothing to rebuild from or for. The storm can be an opportunity to take stock in what we can have gratitude for, our lives, our health, the gift of our loved one’s presence in our lives no matter how short or long. Learning that really we are stronger than we thought, even though it didn’t feel like it. In all this, one day we begin to notice new growth, sprouts of hope, beginning to emerge. The realization finally sets in that things are getting a little easier. Breathing, eating, sleeping are coming more easily because we’ve been working so hard at rebuilding. We’ve not been focused on the storm, but on the rebuilding.