Thursday, August 24, 2017

Prayers for all the Refugees on the Anniversary of Hurricane Andrew

It is pouring rain here, with more in the forecast.  But we are not facing the kind of heavy weather that South Florida would have faced twenty-five years ago when Hurricane Andrew slammed through the area.  I can't even imagine that fury.  And I really can't imagine the aftermath and the rebuilding--well, I can, but it fills my heart with heavy foreboding.

My brain shifts back to 1992, when we had just moved into a house in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  We had spent some time paying attention to Hurricane Andrew, as one does when one lives by the coast.  I pay attention to every weather system, at least until it's clear that we're not in the storm's path.  Even then, I fear the mercurial nature of massive storms, so I keep a wary eye.

In the days after the storm, we noticed some small children next door.  They lived in Homestead, Florida, and had been sent north to stay with relatives while the grown ups tended to the clean up.  They were there for several months.  I think of a late summer night, all of us playing a version of soccer in the front yard, trying to help these refugees forget their loss and exile.

Those children would be in their 30's now.  I wonder how they are and where they are.  They didn't seem traumatized at the time, but I was a very casual observer.  It took several decades for the city of Homestead, Florida to recover.  I imagine that it takes the psyche even longer.

In some ways, they were the first climate refugees that I had ever seen, although I wouldn't have thought of them in that way back in 1992.  In many ways, many refugee crises can be traced to climate or weather issues, even ones that seem to be rooted in war.  Those wars are often rooted in conflicts that are provoked by drought or some other form of destruction.

This morning, I think of all the populations currently displaced by events outside of their control. I pray for them all.

No comments: