When I was a boy, sometime between 7 and 10, I lived with my family in Okinawa, a tiny island located in the Pacific. It seems like we were hit by one or two typhoons (basically a hurricane by another name) every year. Most of them weren’t serious. We just bunkered down, lit up the candles, and occasionally toweled up the water coming in under the doors. I used to stare out the window with my two older brothers and count the seconds between the flash of lightning and the thunder that accompanied it.
In our third and final year in Okinawa, we were hit by probably the worst one we’d ever seen since we arrived. I seem to remember it being a category 3, but I wouldn’t stake my life on it. The domiciles built for the military were pretty sturdy and we lived on a hill, so we never really worried about the roof crashing in or being overcome by a flood.
When it was over, life continued as normal. There were a few uprooted trees, which at the time I thought was pretty cool, but as it turns out, the worst of the storms didn’t signal the end of time.
Later, when we moved back to coastal North Carolina, we encountered the same type of storm once or twice, but afterwards we picked up the pieces and went back to work (or school, as was the case for my brothers and me).
While I was at boot camp in Parris Island, South Carolina, Hurricane Andrew (the costliest natural disaster in the U.S. until Katrina) came up the coast caused a bit of a mess, but after it was over… you guessed it… we picked up the pieces and soldiered on.
As flawed human beings, we have a tendency to look at each crisis as the worst that has ever occurred, and the worst that will ever occur.
These storms taught me, and history has confirmed, that we are resilient. We adapt. We find ways to persevere relying on nothing more than the sweat off our backs and the goodwill of our neighbors. Sure, there are tough times ahead, and after this one is over, there will be more we can look forward to.
They will always seem worse than the ones that came before. But we will get up the next morning, strap on our tool belts and rebuild what had been destroyed. That’s what we do. And we will gladly help each other along the way. – Cam Beck