There have been a lot of tears in our family the past week. It was early Thursday morning we woke up to the news that the eye of Category 4 Hurricane Laura went right over the farm. The reports put storm surge lower than initially projected but winds at 140-150 miles per hour sustained.
The family was devastated. But waiting with hopeful baited breath that things weren’t as bad as they might be.
The first report coming out Friday was that the structures were standing. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case. All three barns were destroyed. Fortunately, the bayou house, which is my father in law’s historic childhood home moved to sit on the bayou, was still standing although damaged. The camp house was missing siding and roof. And Bray’s parents home was assaulted by the wind – siding pulled off, holes in the roof, water in the walls, windows blown out, and the dining room wall actually bowed out.
The family came in waves. Delicately driving between downed power lines and trees. The electricity infrastructure for SW Louisiana has been destroyed. It will be months for the smaller communities to have power restored
The kids went through Hurricane Harvey in Houston when they were seven. Packed up their belongings in a trash bag and evacuated with kind emergency response personnel from around the country. But our house survived. Miraculously. They came home and unpacked and helped others rebuild.
They haven’t had to rebuild themselves.
In the midst of the emotional upheaval of this year, a global pandemic, racial injustice, political vitriol of an election year, we just didn’t have the bandwidth left for a super destructor hurricane.
Those posts were inspired at the farm and featured pictures from our time there just a few weeks ago. Lord knows I’ve written from the farm a hundred times. I can still see this walk from the hay barn with the baby in this post, On Bones and Wood, Down Here at the Farm. Summers with preschoolers reminding me I’m not a farm girl despite my love of the quietude, and littles playing in mud puddles and feeding cows. Their newfound obsession with farm life at two years old.
They carry all that with them. So after a long weekend of cleaning up debris, and another long weekend of clean up ahead of them, they were all in tears and exhausted last night.
We also just went back to school which adds to the exhaustion, AND we’d just finished Where the Red Fern Grows for school which added to their emotional fragility. As I held each one, cycling from child to child (they rarely are all crying at the same time, I’d forgotten how hard that is), one voiced the question they all held: Why did the farm have to get destroyed? Why did the barns get destroyed? It will never be the same.
I don’t know, I replied. I’ve found when we don’t have the answers, it’s best not to gin up an inauthentic one. This is one of those early opportunities where they learn God doesn’t always answer our prayers like we wanted. He is still there though. His plans are still “to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
I wrote on Facebook Friday night, just before we drove to Louisiana the next morning:
Gratitude: thankful in all circumstances.
Well, I guess this week was meant to test that.
Monday: Needed a root canal through my new crown. Grateful to have access and ability to pay for the procedure.
Tuesday: School suddenly released so we could prepare for a major hurricane. Grateful we are one of the few families whose kids can even go back to school.
Thursday: major hurricane eye goes over the family farm leaving a disaster behind. Grateful for a big family who are all going out to rebuild and friends and neighbors to volunteer cots and food to take.
Thursday: Two kids health issues crop up requiring different pediatric specialists. Grateful I live in a city with extraordinary access to health care – appointments Monday and Tuesday.
Friday: First pictures from the farm. Heartbreaking. Then we lose power at our home in Houston. Grateful we are getting to practice what it will be like with no power this weekend at the farm and grateful we can get in tomorrow.
#imtappedout #ineverythinggivethanks #gratitudeiswork
How do we heal?
From whatever has attacked.
We heal through our tears. It’s critical we allow them to flow. Boy, girl, man, woman, we need to make space to grieve.
We heal through our faith. God sustains us even when, especially when, the outcome is different from what we hoped.
We heal through gratitude. Giving thanks in the midst of a storm is hard. The Bible tells us to bring the SACRIFICE of praise, because it is a sacrifice. But finding those things to be thankful for heal.
I know we have too many to name. The people who have come around the extended family with offers of physical labor, supplies, prayers, and money to rebuild have overwhelmed us all. The kids school has been such a safe and comforting place for them to be during the week. We have a home with power and food to come back to when many of those in Lousiana, including my in-laws, do not. We have a hope, the faith that anchors my soul.
It won’t happen overnight. And we’ll have setbacks. We’ll live with the sadness and disappointment and fear I just wrote about. Then, little by little, we’ll see the restoration from the ruin.
I have a hope, found in your name. I have a strength, found in your grace. Your faithfulness, My fortress, Over and over.
Make way through the waters. Walk me through the fire. Do what you are famous for: