As hurricane Matthew edged its way up the eastern seaboard, my family and I were at relative ease. Life was fairly routine. Sure, we had secured loose furniture and the like, but we really weren’t predicting much more than an average NC thunderstorm. Although earlier reports had predicted a hard hit on Wilmington and the surrounding area, the latest forecasts had the storm moving back out to sea with a possible loop back toward Florida. A friend of mine from the Sunshine State, with deep ties to North Carolina, said confidently, “It looks like it’s going to miss you.”
As time and the howling winds would inevitably disclose, the storm had other plans. As I type by candlelight using the precious energy stored in my MacBook battery – on our third day without electricity – I am reminded that life is anything but predictable. People have lost their lives. Our little community is almost completely surrounded by flooding and washed out roads. Two major Interstates have sections that are closed. Trees, shingles, siding and other objects litter our streets and yards, and folks line up for blocks in both directions to get a little gas for their car or generator. It’s after 7:30 PM and the curfew is now in full effect.
I am also reminded, however, that drastic and immediate changes to our normal day-to-day patterns can help us re-evaluate our priorities and set new courses. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned in the storm.