Tonight hurricane Florence is making her way through North Carolina. Her guile is becoming obvious. Not only has she destroyed a lot of the Carolina coast, but now her rain dump into tributaries and rivers is beginning to wreak havoc on the goodliest land, precious places that many of us in eastern North Carolina love.
My husband and I have owned property along the Neuse River since 1969. We built a little house when our daughter was 6 months old. Every year we would add a little something to the house….. flooring, ceiling, heat, a front porch. We loved our life there. The Britts at Easter. The Youngs with continuing conversation about how many days of garbage one trash compactor bag will hold, Bo’s 40th birthday party on the front porch… all the people who filled our lives and shared our joy under the big sky, swimming in the sandy bottomed river.
When Tom’s aunt died, we bought her house that stood about 30 feet from the river. It was 1996. Mother Teresa and Lady Diana died and we remodeled. Not in time for my Mother to enjoy. She never knew we put a handicapped shower in for her. For almost 50 years we have loved and worked to steward property that from the beginning we knew was precious and fragile.
We have weathered storms along our shores. We tried to stay through Dennis. We stood at the edge of our deck trying to push portions of our neighbor’s piers away. It was harrowing. We decided at 2:00 AM to leave. We drove to Greenville where Tom’s parents lived at the time and bunked there till the storm was over.
Storm lessons are hard to learn. I remember Hazel in 1954, and others in the alphabet of destruction along the eastern seaboard. Isobel and Irene were storms the people in our beloved Pamlico County still have never really recovered from. And even beyond Matthew, now there is Florence, a nice genteel southern name, Florence. She has wreaked havoc on our coast, and especially along our beloved river Neuse.
I will tell you that all along the Florence journey, a word from Proverbs 31 has been in my heart. Proverbs 31: 25 – “Strength and dignity are Wisdom’s clothing; and she laughs at the time to come.” As I sit tonight beneath clouds and falling rain, having seen pictures of destruction to our own property and to property of those we love, I know that just beyond the clouds there is a waxing moon and there is a summer sky of constellations waiting to sing and shout to a down-hearted people, “Glory!” Hear the voice of God in the turbulence, ”I am the Lord, your God. You are my beloved. I am holding you in my care.”
As long as the peace of God endures (which is like forever), we on this side of the storm can find joy and delight in what still is. And we will carry on. Life is too good not to. Peace in the night dear ones. All is well.