We were hit by Irma. The worst of the storm hit around 2 am…the wind making sounds that terrified us. Power out, we were grateful to have internet access until daylight and to have an eerie linkage to friends around the region and state who were experiencing the same fury. The same fear.
Our city was ravaged by this angry girl with massive flooding, 200-year old trees ripped out of the ground, taking cars and houses and many, many electrical wires with them as they plunged to the ground. A week out from the storm, there is not a street in the city that isn’t piled 5 – 6 – 7 feet high with debris. Docks are nonexistent as far as the eye can see, and their remnants are strewn blocks away from the river’s edge.
She was the worst, by far, that we have experienced. And she was only a Cat-1 when her bands were pummeling our area. Unimaginable what it would be like in a Cat-4 or 5…and our hearts break for those in the islands who lived that hell, and are left with little.
As we all began to peek out from our covers the next day, look around, we were stunned. With our own eyes, we could see water – river water – lapping up three blocks inland. We saw cars with water to their windows and houses with water in the doors. We saw massive trees – oaks, pines, magnolias, hickorys, even palms – uprooted or snapped. Eight and nine enormous trees, felled in one park alone, and tree after tree mangled with wires and poles leaving our area in the dark. We had no communication, no internet, no landlines or cell lines.
Even though our own eyes saw the devastation, it is almost unimaginable.
So why are we writing about this in a marriage blog?
The aftermath of Irma is what our marriage looked like. After the storm of infidelity hit full on, nothing made sense. Everything was jumbled and unclear and there was rubble everywhere – in every corner of my mind, and my heart, and my soul. There was nothing to hang on to at first…I had cried out to God for much of my marriage to be a better wife. To have a better marriage. To honor Him in my thoughts and actions. I felt forsaken by Jere, and God, and everyone and everything. There was no solid ground or point of reference that made any sense at all. As I looked around at the havoc and confusion, I absolutely considered quitting. Walking away. No, running away. It was too much. I was too overwhelmed and broken and unable to see beyond the destruction.
Without any understanding, I picked up a small twig. A tiny piece of the rubble and decided what to do with it. Slowly, with tears and fear and moments of thinking I couldn’t, I did. So did Jere.
We were at the pivotal point of ending or beginning.
And we did both. We ended the years of shallow communication. Of subtle and not-so-subtle lies and deception Of the old marriage based on what we thought we knew about each other. We ended the old marriage that wasn’t that great…but it was the best we knew. And we began. We began a new marriage based on vulnerability and transparency. On identifying our needs and working to meet them together. On shared vision that we actually defined and on creating complete safety for each other. A marriage in which shame is extinct – and possibility and love grow exponentially.
We learned skills and tools, created a new language between us, and live in a completely different way. The destruction of all that we were has led to two individuals who are more whole, and now live a marriage that is astounding.
Devastation gives us the opportunity to decide: Ending? Beginning? We vote for both.