Monday, September 11, 2017


Hurricane Irma and My Friends

    I'm blessed with many friends. Some are millionaires. Many are very poor. Most are in-between. All seem to want more money and more stuff. I often feel much more at home among those who have the less. Hurricane Irma has brought this to my mind.
   We have maintained contact with folks in the Bahamas, relationships developed over the five years we spent there while living on our boat. Even the more 'advantaged' among them would not be deemed as 'privilaged' in this society. And here in Canada, of course, where a large water-front home commands such a crazy price, we have friends that cover the spectrum of wealth. What does this have to do with Irma?
    In the past few days we've been barraged by news of the damage done by that storm. There's a very real difference in the tone we hear from two groups of friends. From the Bahamas we hear of how people are dealing with the damage of their (uninsured) two-roomed homes, of how the three or five people are coping through co-operating and sharing with others. They will survive and make do. They've done it before and it will happen again. It's a VERY big deal. But they're not complaining, but just sharing their lives. It's a real blessing that I'm on their list of people that count. I'll certainly help them if I'm able.
    Then there's another group of friends. They've got property of some kind down in Florida. For some of them it's their third homes, even after a boat. I'm not sure if they're complaining or bragging when they share with me how they're worried about the damage to their (insured) house or condo. I really don't know what to say. Are they expecting me to be sorry for their insured loss (what-ever that is) for something that they obviously don't need?
    These folks are great, but they are so spiritually shallow in comparison to the first group. But they are those that are around me here, among others. As I am searching for The Kingdom of God, I find it such a challenge to resist just going to a place (here or there) where people have less STUFF that keeps them from a greater reality. The main topic of conversation here is how to get MORE or to loose LESS. I spend a lot of time just listening, with nothing much to say.
    I hope that the luck, good and bad, that hurricanes bring, might teach us something real. It's good to remind ourselves that the Jews, who wrote the 'Adam and Eve' creation story, saw the expulsion from the Garden of Eden  as a blessing, knowing that only in an imperfect and uncontrolled world, would humans have a chance to grow and understand love. It takes the power and arbitrariness of a hurricane to force us see the bigger picture and to re-order our priorities.
    I continue to hope so.
    But in the meantime, if you're second or third house gets damaged, don't expect me to cry any tears with you. I've a limited amount of them and they're saved for those who really know what suffering is about.

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