House Calls

Medical and other musings of a plastic surgeon

Musings on Hurricane Irma- it is always calm before a storm

Irma 1

Hurricane Irma is still a day and a half away. Looking outside, it is sunny and perfectly still, a beautiful day. It is hard to believe that just a few hundred miles away, lives are being changed forever, some lives have been snuffed out, and entire communities and even countries will be years recovering from the devastation of Irma……with Jose not far behind.

I have learned much in nearly 65 years. One of the most important lessons is that life is a never ending series of periods of calm interspersed with crises. These can be personal or family issues, professional setbacks, health problems, political upheaval, natural disasters, and more. We can be touched by people and events that were not even on our radar, seemingly overnight. Think of it. The nuclear aspirations of a thirty something eccentric despot in North Korea, a desperately poor country halfway around the world, can set even super powers on edge.

Irma 2

Whether you regard Jesus Christ as God, a great philosopher/teacher, or a delusional carpenter with good public relations, he had some great insights that are as relevant today as they were two thousand years ago. The New Testament book of John quotes him thus: “In this life you will have trouble.” If there are universal truths, this is one of them. If there is anyone in the history of the world who has been exempt from this, I would like to know who. Even JC Himself was not spared.

What is often forgotten, ignored, or disagreed with is the rest of the quote: “But, take heart. I have overcome the world.” If you regard JC as anything other than God, this is a statement of monumental overreach. It defines the term delusional. Such a statement by a guy dead for over 2000 years would be worse than meaningless; it would raise false hopes. For those, however, who do believe that Christ was exactly who He claimed to be, it is very comforting to know, as a monster hurricane approaches, that no matter what happens, God is in control and behind even the most inexplicable events there is a purpose even if we do not see it now.

In my own life, I have come to a point where, when things have been going very well for a while and all is calm and good, I get a little nervous wondering when the next shoe will drop. I just hope and pray that it will not hurt too bad or be too damaging because I know that it, something, will happen to disrupt things. It is as inevitable as the proverbial death and taxes. Right now, we are fine. In a few hours, Irma’s path could shift, she could strengthen, and my life will be in shambles in a little over 24 hours. That’s the reality of our world in this life. I could wake up tomorrow and find a small black mole on my body that I never noticed before, and suddenly be fighting for my life.

All this is not to be maudlin or pessimistic. Rather, I take this knowledge and try to apply it daily in the form of gratitude, real gratitude, for the blessings I have enjoyed during my life. If everything I know and love disappears tomorrow, it has been a great ride and I have enjoyed every minute…..well, most of it. No regrets. I think a good approach is to enjoy and appreciate the best of life and always try to be prepared for the worst.

As Irma approaches and does her thing, over which we have no control, it is comforting to know that God is still in charge and life, for the moment, is good. My prayers for all those who have been impacted, are being impacted, and will be impacted by Irma. God be with us all.

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