“I rarely feel like I’m in chaos, but when I am, I usually [retreat] and try to find the eye of the storm; if I’m still and listen and don’t engage, maybe the chaos will subside.” –Mike Colter
I hate leaving the Island.
Every year that goes by and I have a chance to visit, the more difficult it is to leave. I suppose it is the fear of not being able to return. Maybe it is the fact that the older I get the more I wonder, “When will I be back” or “Will I be back at all?”
It’s always a bittersweet moment for me. The idea of seeing my kids is the sweet portion of it… (thoug this time a new puppy awaiting me has been added to the sweetness), and my motivation. When I think of those I leave behind… that is just sadness. Is there a “sadsweet” word? Because it is not bitterness. Is definately sadness…
The most amazing thing about this trip is seeing how “Puerto Rico Se Levanta.” (Puerto Rico lifts itself up) This is true to the nature and heart of the people. I saw the houses that were abandoned by some, but many more homes being rebuilt, fixed and cleaned. Many did not let the storm of the century discourage them or scare them away. Many stayed behind to fight. Those are the ones I admire the most. Those who stayed to rebuild a broken people. Those are the ones with a strong heart. They cried, they lost a lot, but they… (What is the saying??)… “Got back on the horse” and kept on going.
I saw more smiles than anything. People wanting to share the “how” they are continuing on. What they are doing to survive. Many businesses reopened, some in a better way and stronger built than before. A restaurant owner I came across within the beach area north of Barceloneta told me with a smile, “We were planning on adding on this area, “pointing to the new paved floor outside the eating area, “and Maria took care of us by advancing our plans and taking down the old awning that needed to be replaced.” I smiled as he said, “It all worked out for the better.” And I responded with, “It is amazing how God can still work in the middle of destruction.” He smiled and said, “Amen!” Whether or not he was a Christian did not influence my response. But I was glad he totally agreed. I told Todd, I may have not gotten away with “Prophesying” in the USA, but I did in Puerto Rico every chance I got. And they all would respond, “Amen!” or (When I would say “God Bless you”), with a “Same to You.”
I did see many houses destroyed and some abandoned. Those were the sad scenic reminders of the hurricane. Yet among it all I saw a people, “un pueblo” lifting itself up from the devastation, working together, helping each other out, strengthening each other and basically fighting back against “Maria.” That is a strong people.
The question is, why can’t all Christians do that? We have even a bigger reason to stay strong, to be motivated and we have Jesus at our side. So why then do we fall apart when devastation comes our way. We shrink and cry out “Why me?” and I respond, “Well, why not?” This world has its own will…. Even we have free will… Nature takes its course, we make decisions based on it… some really poor and bad decisions, some really good ones. But we are more than apt to make better and correct decisions when we allow God to be our “Captain” or leader, our mentor and our ADVISOR. Without God our decisions become like the winds of a hurricane, trampling anything that surrounds us. But with God, we are in the eye of the storm, at peace in the middle of a chaotic world. That’s how I want to live.
Just like those that stayed behind in Puerto Rico, those relaying on God for strength, regardless of how unique their situation is, I want to be able to handle any storm that comes my way. For I know that no matter how difficult and strong those winds are, my life is even STRONGER because God is by my side. Every part of my life is unique regardless of the winds that surrounds me… but I am at peace, like the eye of a hurricane, just like when Jesus quieted the storm.
“A wild storm came up. Waves crashed over the boat. It was about to sink. Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up. They said, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown?”. He got up and ordered the wind to stop. He said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down. And it was completely calm.”
–Mark 4:37-39 (NIRV)