My mother’s name was Irene. She was a gentle, loving, and quiet soul. A devoted wife and mother. So when I heard the news that a hurricane had the same name, there was a disconnect for me.
And yet, over the weekend we all found ourselves in the midst of tropical storm Irene. The street where we live was unscathed, but a few streets away you can see the effects – downed trees and branches littering the roads.
My wife and I stopped in D’Agostino’s to pick up some lunch yesterday, and the clerk told us how her area in East Arlington was still without power. Everywhere you go one of the first things out of folks' mouths is “How did you make out?”
The eastern seaboard will be cleaning up for awhile from this. And those families that have to deal with the tragic loss of life have much more to overcome. My heart goes out to them.
In an effort to make sense of these types of natural disasters, people often attribute them to the will of God. I recall there was a lot of that during Hurricane Katrina, the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, and the earthquake that devastated Haiti. Some individuals in responsible positions even claimed that it was God’s punishment to the populations of those areas.
All of that is something that I simply can’t subscribe to.
I think of God as a loving deity – one who brings good to all of His creation.
Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that everyone reading this is going to say “OK” to that, let alone agree that God exists. But I have seen how shifting my thinking to that model has brought about significant changes in all aspects of my life – including health, well-being, relationships, and finances.
So as the clean-up goes on, let’s continue to focus on how we can help our neighbors. The Bible and many holy texts from faith traditions around the globe recommend that we love our neighbor as ourselves.
And for me, doing that is seeing God’s love in action.