So...I have a story to share.
Shocking, I know. Of course, if you're a regular reader, then you'll be saying to yourself, "Well, duh! When have you NOT had a story to share??!!"
THIS story is something a little different than the ones I normally share....In fact, this story is so different, that it's taken me two weeks to process it somewhat in my mind...come to terms with it...and eventually decide to share it.
Because...this story is about my faith. And the power of prayer. And if you're a regular reader, you know that I don't share stories of my faith very often...I consider my faith to be very private, and I hold it pretty close to my chest. It's not something I talk about often, and it's even a little difficult today to write this post....and yet, I had to share this.
It begins with me in Tampa, Florida a few weeks ago...where I was waiting further instructions from the American Red Cross on where I would be deployed next, in lieu of Hurricane Isaac's projected landfall.
On the evening of Tuesday, August 28th, I received my instructions: Drive immediately to Hattiesburg, MS - by way of Pensacola, Florida.
Well. These instructions were most unsettling, as Hurricane Isaac was making landfall that very same evening... it was causing havoc in Pensacola, as well as the rest of the southern Gulf coast. The LAST thing I wanted to do was to jump in a vehicle and drive INTO a hurricane - in the middle of the night.
This is what was known: The four of us in our vehicle knew we had a long drive ahead of us...it's 465 miles between Tampa and Pensacola, and it was now 8:00 p.m. Pretty darned late to begin a road trip, especially when that road trip was taking us into the eye of the storm....
We knew there was a hurricane swirling around us, which could possibly bring flooding, road closures, and wind damage...
And...we knew we were scared.
As we packed into our vehicle to begin the long, dark journey into the unknown, I sent up a message on Facebook:
"Driving to Pensacola now... Won't arrive until very late...we need prayers for safety on the road..."
Soon, twenty-four friends had hit the "Like" button...and twenty-four friends had commented on my status, offering up prayers.
I also began texting a few friends and family, especially those whom I knew had deep faith...and the messages of support and prayers were immediately returned.
Our journey began.
We drove...and we drove...and we drove...465 miles...on the darkened roads of Florida...stopping occasionally at a rest stop or a gas station...or to change drivers...and eventually rolling into a motel in Pensacola at 3:30 a.m. EST in the morning...
...and incredibly...not ONCE did we encounter ANY evidence of a hurricane.
Not a single wind gust.
Not a single rain drop.
Zip. Nada. Nothing.
And yet...not more than 30 minutes behind us were several other American Red Cross vehicles, with other volunteers, who reported to me later that their journey was indeed harrowing...with wind, rain and debris following them the entire trip.
We had nothing.
They had everything.
What was the difference???
As I tried to process this information later, I could come up with only two explanations....
The 'scientific' explanation would say that our car was in a bubble between the spiral bands of the storm...of course, this meant that we had INCREDIBLE timing, as well as luck, to stay within this "bubble" the ENTIRE 465 mile journey...even with our occasional stops along the way.
The 'faith' explanation would say that our car was in a bubble of protection from a higher power...with the power of prayer surrounding us and keeping us safe on our journey.
So...what was it? Were we just incredibly lucky, managing to avoid a 350-mile wide hurricane? Or was it the power of prayer?
I'll let the readers make up their own minds, but I know what I believe....