Dear Friends,

How do you plan to commemorate the anniversary of Hurricane Michael? Oct. 10 is a day that none of us will ever forget. I suspect that as the day approaches it will trigger anew many terrible memories and awaken the grief that lies barely under the surface. I am planning on being proactive, and have a plan in place to help me through this anniversary. I am not going to look at pictures of the damage. I am not going to watch footage of the storm coming in and buildings being destroyed. I am going to try my hardest to not go over the catalogue of personal damages, lost heirlooms, and community losses.

Maybe there will be years to do that kind of thing in the future. But this year, I have decided that for me the only way to approach this day is with celebration. We have a lot to celebrate:

• I plan to celebrate how our community has become a family bound by something deeper than a zip code.

• I plan to celebrate how we became a community where neighbor helps neighbor despite our differences.

• I plan to celebrate all of the people who came from all over to help clean out our homes and take down our trees.

• I plan to celebrate having a new house and new furniture.

• I plan to celebrate the new homes going up.

• I plan to celebrate life; we are all survivors.

 

We have come so far since that day, and no doubt we have a long way to go. God has brought us through the sea and through the storm. We are headed to a better place. I want to encourage you not to spend too much time remembering the trauma and loss, but instead celebrate how far we have come and the strength we have found. Let’s celebrate!

 

Peace,

 

The Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Lentz

Pastor of First United Methodist Church of Port St. Joe