My thoughts (Lynnette Pullen-Bradford):
Today was the first time I walked into a house that was damaged by hurricane Harvey. I mean, I have been seeing the damage up and down the streets since it happened, gutted businesses, rows of industrial sized trash receptacles in driveways, blue tarps where roofs used to be, but, I had not seen this.
When I turned onto the street, I audibly gasped. The rubble lined road had been condensed to one lane, and people were still throwing things away. Televisions, couches, refrigerators, mattresses, sheet rock, carpet, chairs…you name it. I turned slowly into my patient’s driveway, and my mouth gaped open even wider. I knew he had damage, but I didn’t expect this much.
His normally stunning U-shaped, brick lined driveway, with a wrought iron fence, was now covered with debris. I rang the doorbell and couldn’t help but turn my back to the door and survey the damage once more. I spotted his brand new hospital bed sitting on the sidewalk next to his dresser where he used to keep all of his medicine.
I went in and found him sitting on his couch crying. He is confined to one room until the repairs are complete. His power chair was irreparably damaged, and it will take months to get a new one. He only has strength enough to walk to the bathroom and back. We hugged and talked. I helped him as best I could. Then I went back to my car and sat quietly for a moment, just taking it all in.
It’s the aftermath.
The moment after which the trauma has occurred, and it’s now time to survey the damages. The point after a storm where we are done celebrating our survival and are just beginning to grasp the reality of the impact that it had on us.
It doesn’t just happen in natural storms, but supernatural ones, too. Storms that attack our faith, our health, our finances and our minds. Storms that can last for years. Once they pass and the sun comes out, the extent of the damages are revealed.
It reminds me of the Israelites when they escaped Egypt. They were running for their lives, and when it looked as if they’d hit a dead end, the sea splits and allows them to walk through! No doubt they were on a natural high, celebrating their escape.
Yes, the Israelites were out of Egypt, but it would take nearly a lifetime to get the Egypt out of the Israelites.
Harvey dumped four days and nights of record breaking, torrential rain, causing damage that may take years to fix. But you know what? Repairs across the city began the very next day.
Sometimes, we survive things only to find out we did not emerge unscathed. That’s ok. Let’s deal with the aftermath. Take out all those rotten, warped and broken ideas, feelings and thoughts and toss them to the curb. It may be ugly at first, but don’t worry. If you end up having to gut your mind to free your soul, then it was well worth it. Whatever it is, deal with it. Don’t let the aftermath force you to live in a dead situation.
Prayer for the day: God, thank You for helping us navigate the storms that come our way. Help us to have the courage to face the aftermath and do the hard work of rebuilding our lives after a trauma. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.