Waiting on a hurricane is a weird thing.
There’s this big, slow moving, dark cloud hanging over you. The wind is blowing, the air feels…well…for lack of a better word, weird, and your pets are going nuts. They can sense something isn’t quite right.
You keep hearing stories farther south of wind, rain, and the storm surge.
You check the weather, then the list of school closings, then the weather again, then school closings again, then…well, you get the idea. And the whole time you’re hoping the news will have been updated in the last 30 seconds.
It’s like a nightmare you just can’t wake up from. All you can do is wait.
For those of us in or near the Land Mass Between NOLA and Mobile, the word “hurricane” does not bring up fond memories. It reminds us of the names “Camille,” “Andrew,” and of course, “Katrina.”
My parents remember Camille, and they remember the whole coast of the Land Mass being flattened.
I remember Andrew, vaguely, and remember having the same feeling I do now, watching that big cloud moving closer and closer.
And we all remember Katrina. I was in school at Ole Miss at the time, which is located in northern Mississippi, and was driving back to Oxford from Memphis the night before it hit the coast. It was an eerie feeling to be driving south down I-55 close to midnight and seeing seemingly stand still traffic heading north, presumably to find shelter. Though we were safe from the real damage of the storm, we felt it. As southerners, and Mississippians, we all felt it.
So waiting on a hurricane is a weird thing, and it brings a couple of things to my mind.
First, I think of God. It seems like people always do when bad weather hits. For some, it’s proof God is angry at us (or “them,” because God isn’t really ever mad at us, is he?). For others, it’s proof that a good God can’t possibly exist. How could such bad things happen to good people? Most of us, though, probably just ask why. And I don’t know that we ever really know why.
But I cringe at the people who say these storms are proof that God is mad at homosexuals or abortion doctors. There is proof that God is mad at sin, that God hates sin, and it’s the cross. Period. I also cringe at the people who say that God isn’t there, or God isn’t good, because storms happen, simply because I believe the Bible, and I believe God is working all things for the good of His people and that God is making all things new. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t at least wonder about all of that, but maybe we just aren’t guaranteed all the answers that we want.
Second, I think of the people of the Land Mass. We’ve been hit before, and we’ll be hit again. But we probably won’t make a big deal out of it. We’ll just roll our sleeves up and get to work rebuilding our homes, churches, schools, stores, and whatever else got messed up.
We have taken our lumps and our share of criticism (and hey, a lot of it is probably deserved, if we’re being honest), but times like these are what makes me proud to be from this Land Mass, proudly and unashamedly known as Mississippi. I’m proud of my state, and I’m proud to be from my state. There are a lot of reasons besides just this, but this is definitely a good place to start.
As for those of us in central Mississippi, we’ll sit back, watch what happens, and be ready to help if necessary. We’ll get some rain, and maybe some tornadoes (which absolutely terrify me), and maybe lose power. Or maybe none of that will happen, which is why waiting for hurricanes is a weird thing.
But I’ve got to go check the school closings. I have a Hebrew quiz I’m hoping will be cancelled.
*Update – I wrote this Wednesday. It got published Friday. Class got cancelled Thursday. So…there’s some good to come out of it!!