It has been exactly 337 days since I wrote my last blog post.
That’s because it was around 337 days ago that I no longer considered every 24 hours I was given a gift but a block of time that simply wasn’t enough to help me in meeting my obligations. My husband and I launched our own production company while simultaneously embarking on our new, now-necessary homeschooling “experiment”. I did not see 24 hours as a precious commodity but as a rigid and unforgiving standard unit of measurement impeding my ability to wholly be the wife, mother, and writer I wanted to be. Something had to give, and I chose to take a sabbatical from River City Rising. Though I was uncertain as to how long it would last, I was certain that it would end.
It has been exactly 74 days since Hurricane Dorian mercilessly destroyed whatever it desired in and around my hometown of Freeport, Grand Bahama.
It struck Grand Bahama “with unrelenting winds for over 24 hours.” Entire neighborhoods, in which many homes appeared structurally able to withstand just about any natural disaster, could not withstand Dorian. The entire world watched as we were reminded, in a most cruel and sobering way, that appearances are often deceiving. Longstanding communities were reduced to rubble, aerial shots capturing mere remnants of what once was.
A childhood friend and his family would spend 24 hours awaiting clemency from a storm intent on shattering whatever hope was left after they’d ascended to temporary safety. His wife and young children clung to each other atop their home’s roof while being assailed by winds and rain; he clung to a pole for an hour and a half after being carried away by the floodwaters on their boat which, initially intended to serve as the rescue vessel, had broken away from the house almost immediately after he climbed in. “That same time…I asked God if that’s it. If this is it. I asked God…if this is how it’s going to be,” he shared during a television interview. “But right then I started thanking Him for life, thanked Him for everything He’s done for me…[asked Him to] just protect my family.” Though he and his wife’s voices were broken as they spoke of those 24 hours, their faith and spirit were not.
It has been exactly 44 days since I shipped to the Bahamas a large box received from a five-year-old Memphian, addressed to the children who survived Hurricane Dorian.
I opened the box so that I could log its contents before sending them over and saw the card from Nonna, who had sent the items on behalf of her grandson. He hand-picked every, single item which included all the things a kid would love, such as Macaroni & Cheese, coloring books, Hot Wheels, fun character shirts, bubbles. And there was the green dinosaur ring, which this young boy had earned at school for “being good all week.” If I had to guess, I’d say he spent about 24 hours that week (4.8 hours a day) earning this precious ring, which he then chose to send to the Bahamas so someone else could feel as special as he did. I held the little plastic ring in my hand and cried. Such a small item; such a huge act of selflessness. What a difference 24 hours can make in the life of a child, and in ours.
As we enter the season of thanksgiving, I say thank you for the gift of time; for the blessing of every 24-hour block I’m given. I say thank you for my friends and family’s lives that were spared during one of the most destructive 24 hours my hometown has seen to date.
Thank you to Nonna; and thank you especially to one of my favorite five-year-olds in the world, who figured out long before I did that our days are never too short to make a difference.
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