September came in like a lion, and man I sure hope that things are going to go out like a lamb. All of us could use some nice easy days ahead.

It has been an intensely hard and overwhelming two weeks for so many people.

My dear friend, my chosen brother from another mother, lost his father at the beginning of the month. Losing a parent at any age, and under any circumstance, is a loss that is lasting. Grief comes in waves over the years, and even being a support for someone walking through this loss brings back for me bits from losing my mother 24 years ago (man, how has it been THAT long). I treasure the time I was able to spend helping with his 8 month old son as he rushed to be with his father in the last minutes, but I hate the circumstances that surrounded it all.

In moments surrounding death we realize our own vulnerability, but we also find those that are our anchors. Sometimes the people that come through by our side surprise us, and other times we rekindle lifelong kinships that are everlasting.

There was hardly a breather between his father’s death and the preparations for what was to come with Hurricane Irma. Florida planned, prepared, and braced for the worst for days before Irma was to reach Florida. I had ridden out hurricanes before, but never as a parent and never being faced with one of such strength and size.

Irma luckily decreased in strength before she reached us, but she also jogged inland toward our home in the hours before she was suppose to be passing by to our west. Being on the northeast side of the storm is never a good place to be, but having the eye spread out and come closer to home also wasn’t what we wanted to hear as we took cover to ride out the eye wall in the darkness of night.

In those last dark hours before the winds really whipped up I was astonished by the outpouring from friends and family near and far. I got calls, texts, and emails from people I hadn’t spoken with in years. Overnight I texted and messaged with many friends, many that were just down the street. We kept each other comforted and found sanity and support in connection with one another.

The light of morning was never a more welcome sight. We were able to begin to see what Irma had done and the result of the sounds we heard and could only guess at overnight.

The days since have been full of sweat and lots of manual labor. But, they have also been full of compassion, humanity, neighbors lending hands, and strangers becoming friends.

It is in tough and trying times like these that people rise to the top. I also find it is in these times that we learn a lot about those who really have our backs through thick and thin.

It is so easy to get caught up in the rat race that is life that we forget to nurture the relationships that mean the most. The mark we leave behind is usually with people, not things.

Just like a strong tree that doesn’t topple in the wind needs its roots to grow deep and be firmly grounded so that it can bend and flow with the wind, so do we need to sow our time and ground our relationships, so that we ourselves can be grounded like a tree that doesn’t fall from shallow roots when storms blow.

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