A TRAGIC STORM AND THE PILOT WHO SAVED ME
We had been circling the gray clouds for half an hour waiting for clearance from the airport to land. I was instantly reminded of the year Hurricane Sandy hit New York City several years ago. My roommate Shelby and I were stoked for the additional day off and stocked up on Netflix movies instead of food. We thought that surely this was yet another formality.
The sky was dark the night the storm hit our corner of the Upper East Side. I completely missed the steady crescendo of turbulence building outside our windows, distracted with whatever chick flick was playing on the television.
Then Sandy hit.
Shelby screamed for me from downstairs. I ran over to the top of the stairs half expecting an unwelcome guest, perhaps a mouse seeking shelter from the rain. My eyes widened and I had to catch my breath as I witnessed a relentless current of gushing water invading our home through a shattered window. Through tears, I begged my frantic friend to let go of her possessions and run upstairs lest any wires electrocute her.
In less than 20 minutes, the power had shut off and an aggressive flood had crept to the top of our stairs, completely submerging the first floor of Shelby's room. Suddenly neighbors emerged from the black hallway to assist. Some offered strength to quickly move our valuables to safety while others offered light with whatever candles they could find.
As the horrors of the night subsided and the morning flickered back into our home I sat at the top of the stairs. I remember watching the happy rays dance across the walls and growing resentful that the same sky could bring both utter darkness and sublime light. It seemed like a cruel trick; an abusive relationship.
As I watched the water slowly drain back down, I shook my head in frustration for not foreseeing this monster of a storm. I played back the past events of the last 24 hours, pinpointing all of the opportunities I could have done something, anything to prevent the loss I now faced. I felt reckless for ignoring all the persistent weather advisories; maybe I could have nailed the window shut somehow had I been more prepared. I was a fool drowned in debris and regret.
And though the years since have past, the cycle of storms continues.
I can't help but recall and reflect on this reality as I am faced with yet another reckless storm. And before I fall back into my usual cycle of attempting to pin point how I could have prevented this unfortunate outcome, I am comforted when I remember God's consoling answer in response to my despair as I sat on the top of the stairs post Sandy.
I am not qualified to be in control. Rather, I am called to stillness and trust in the hands of The One who holds the whole Universe in the palm of hands. A flashback from my childhood comes to mind. I gripped my dad's hand while a storm rocked our plane spontaneously to and fro. My dad met my terrified gaze and held out his hand with an imaginary plane floating above, assuring me that amidst the turbulence, God would personally carefully carry the plane through.
My eyes widened as I realized that the real pilot on the plane was The One who created and set all things into motion according to His perfect plan. I held onto this precious knowledge and as the peace that surpassed all understanding washed over my anxiety, I loosened the grip on my dad's arm and let the plane rock me to sleep.
And so it goes with the unpredictable and often vicious life we are called to. Even the best weatherman simply cannot predict all of the little and big tragedies that plague our day to day. And yet; we continue to press forward, trusting the Pilot to carry us through from glory to glory come what may.
Xoxo, Diwa Doll