I received a number of responses to last week’s blog, which focused on the people who lost everything in Hurricane Dorian, and on the way the storm put things in perspective for those of us who often get frustrated and annoyed by minor inconveniences.

One of my friends, who lives in Florida, said he recently starting working on a way to deal with those minor inconveniences. Whenever he encounters an issue or problem that causes him stress, pain, or discomfort, he tries to remember there are people – probably a lot of people – who have a problem similar to his, but on a much larger scale. When he thinks about it this way, he finds he’s much better able to deal with his own problem. This was tested in July when his air conditioner broke down, but his new practice helped him deal with the heat until he could get it fixed.

Most of the people who responded to the blog said they appreciated the reminder for us to count our blessings, and not take for granted the many conveniences we have. One said she thanks God every day for the “little things,” and for her warm bed and a roof that doesn’t leak when it rains – comforts she didn’t have when she was a child.

I got a chill reading the response from a friend who compared losing everything in the hurricane to her family’s losing everything in a bombing. She’s French, and was one year old when the Germans invaded France during World War II. She told me how scared her mother was in 1940 when their town was burned to the ground. But she decided then that she would never allow herself to be so scared again. And she never was.

That’s a pretty extreme example of how strength and resilience can grow out of the trials and tragedies in our lives, but it’s something I’ve always firmly believed to be true. I know many people who have said that getting cancer – or breaking their leg, or losing their job – turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. They go on to say their illness or disease forced them to focus on what was most important in their lives. Or an x-ray of a broken bone showed a tumor that would not otherwise have been found so early. Or being suddenly unemployed gave them the courage and motivation to pursue a dream that changed the course of their lives.

This is not to say, of course, that the victims of Hurricane Dorian – or people experiencing any tragedy – don’t have a long, difficult, and painful road ahead of them. They do, and the rest of us should do whatever we can to help them through it. At the same time, we should never forget to give thanks for the blessings in our own lives, or to pray for the strength and resilience to handle whatever storms may come.

September 14, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019

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