Making Meaning in A Hurricane

I guess Glenn Beck said that the coming Hurricane Irene was a “blessing” . Having read a brief snippet about it, I can’t agree with the whole “blessing” concept. Tragedy is never a good thing.  Beck says it proves his point that “emergency preparedness is a good idea” and that he’s not delusional, disruptions in the food chain could happen. Anybody that needs a tragedy to make their opinion valid has got their priorities wrong. Opinions aren’t worth that much.

Having said that,  people make blessings out of tragedies all the time by making meaning out of them. Nobody wishes for an addiction in their present or future, but people transform themselves because of one daily in little rooms in church basements and detoxes and sober houses around the globe.   No one wants sudden death of a family member or the end of an era — no one. And yet, from these ashes of the tragedies can, often, come newer and deeper, more meaningful lives.  Mostly, it is because tragedies sweep everything from our lives, including the frivolous — and we have a lot of frivolous in our lives today. Somehow our souls know what’s really important in our lives and we keep it locked in our hearts and minds and we can pick it out of the wreckage and ashes of our lives

After I wrote the blog about the Sabbath, a Jewish friend wrote back and explained what it was like  to experience Sabbath and I joked that “that kind of a Sabbath would take unions(for the time) and a lot of power outages (for a technology-free Sabbath)”.  Mr. Beck was right about one thing: the coming hurricane (if it materializes) will remind us that we’re not in control around here. Even if corporations or our bosses want us to go to work, when the 100 mile an hour winds come through, we can’t.  Even the unions couldn’t give us that kind of time at home, though I’m not sure I’d callit a holiday.

The power outages will apparently come with the storm, according to local news reports. If we have blackouts, after some period of time, we here will be iPod-less, computer-less, internet-less and so on. The only thing left at home will be us — and natural sunlight when we have it. What’s left will be what’s important — the stuff that God created.  Even if — due to traffic jams, flight delays, work schedules, and so on — we can’t be with the things that matter, our hearts will find them. We call our kids or our parents, we worry about loved ones and friends. We protect important things.

Remember all those in-class assignments about what would you put in the boat? This is the time when we actually do just that. Whatever you think about, whoever you think about, as the hurricane approaches — that is where meaning lies for you. That is what’s important. Realize that it’s from God, and treasure it with everything you’ve got while you’ve got it.




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