Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.
Psalm 61:1-3 KJV
As I struggle to keep my balance while Irma is trying her best to rip the window louvers out, it was actually the Caribbean gospel version sung by Marvia Providence that was playing in my head and on my lips. I sang my prayer over the howling winds in hopes that the Lord would keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.
‘Til the storm passes over, ‘Til the thunder sounds no more;
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand, In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.
I grew up hearing my grandmother–God rest her soul–sing along as this hymn played on her radio but I was NOT feeling it, even though it burned itself into my subconsciousness. Now that I find myself holding an area rug against a window to keep it from blowing in, singing that refrain is one of the few things comforting my spirit at this terrifying moment in my life.
The following is an excerpt from an entry in my physical journal:
So… it’s 2017 and I recently unearthed this journal. It was found while preparing for an impending storm. At this very moment, it’s 12:49 pm and Hurricane Irma is literally pummeling St. Thomas. Why did I decide to write in my journal in the middle of a record-breaking storm? I’ll get to that soon.
It was the first week in September and the weather reports were not good: Hurricane Irma was on a collision course with the U.S. Virgin Islands. No big deal, right? The last real hurricane to actually hit St. Thomas was 22 years ago so this one was just a drill. If only… Read more
The Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2017 officially ended yesterday but it’s aftermath is still sinking in for some of its survivors. Words like epic, devastating, and unprecedented come to mind, yet they miserably fail to capture the impact upon numerous lives.
Thanks to the National Hurricane Center–I’ll be referencing them a LOT, by the way–we have awesome charts, data, and graphics to record what happened from June through November of this year, among many others. But THIS year, I am a statistic. I am part of the billions of dollars of destruction and relief aid; I am one of the millions of people who lived through these tropical cyclones or had to be evacuated to safety; I was not in one of the thousands of homes that lost roofs or was submerged under floodwaters, but I know many who were; mine was not one of the hundreds of lives that were claimed by these storms, may their souls rest in peace…
With the life that I am unspeakably grateful to have, I choose to begin. This isn’t my first blog, but it is the first time that I am using one to publicly process, heal, and serve. I have to process my emotions about what happened in order to move forward, and I find writing to be immensely therapeutic. Also, in some strange way, I feel that starting to share my journal–whether it’s with the world-wide-interwebs or just 3 dedicated readers (Love you, mom!)–I’ll be serving a community within ‘the numbers’.
My experience wasn’t terribly horrific by any stretch of the imagination… but it is still mine and I need to get it out. My name is Tanisha, and this is my story: The IrMaría Chronicles.