Lord, what a dark night… a dark and dreadful night… but it was not my dark and dreadful night. I was blessed with warm and dry shelter. Those stranded in the dark and cold muddy waters were living this nightmare, along with their rescuers. Yet I could not leave that screen. I could not leave them. Especially when it was just volunteers left to help. The night was getting late after so many had been waiting for so long, and much more rain was on the way. The reservoirs and levees were going to release water to try to save them from collapse, yet there was no guarantee they wouldn’t anyway.
As I watched this for hours, my heart and blood pressure were up. I could hear voices saying stop worrying, it wasn’t good for me, worrying wasn’t going to help the victims. I prayed as I saw each rescue, and heard each group plea to help those still stranded. And those children, Lord, with little infants! How could I possibly leave that screen knowing children and babies were out there? I tried to reason that rescue efforts would take days. I knew I couldn’t stay awake like that anymore. That made me realize a lot of things.
When I was younger, my anxiety would NOT let me rest if I heard of turmoil. In some ways that was good. Others would ask me to stay with them through tragic times, or ask me to sit with their family or friend. Reliable and strong were the most common words I heard. But that was all you giving me the strength. At other times it seemed like a curse or a heavy weight to carry, that was absolutely taking me under.
Tonight, Lord, I felt calm in the storm. I was not less concerned, but I could feel my anxiousness give way as soon as I even began to worry. It felt so calming. That is the word that comes to mind. There’s nothing wrong with being calm during a storm. If volunteers were not calm they could not rescue. At times a rescuer is challenged by a frantic victim who becomes life-threatening. This made me pray for the volunteers.
Remaining calm allowed me to think… remembering being rescued in storms a couple of times… as a child… as a disabled adult (close to bed ridden)… watching my mom suffer night and day for months… unable to ease her pain… expected to sleep in my bed right beside her… knowing any time she could pass. How cruel to close my eyes and supposedly my ears to her pain so I could sleep. If it weren’t for your grace and the medicines you allow, I would have not remained calm to do what was being asked of me.
You allowed these medicines to keep me calm, pray, and absolutely trust you. I just grabbed my color journal and calmly waited as I listened and learned. Sometimes to the news. Sometimes to you showing me all kinds of things about myself, and how far you and I have come. At one point, while in prayer you allowed me to fall asleep. In the past I would have felt like a monster, but now I understand I am human. You made the medicine and the calm feel like good friends. It was nice… to have good friends, and to feel good about it instead of feeling guilty.
There are many things I have absolutely no control over. I must choose to trust you. Thank you for the calm in the storm. You remind me of Matthew 8:23-26.
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.