When Hit by a Hurricane
Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett
Here’s Mom, safely at home in San Antonio while her first-born child is in the path of a massive hurricane. Thinking, I will keep watch. I will hold him up through the long night. Thanks to technology and social media, I watched WESH-2 news from Orlando by livestream, hour after hour, for my son’s updates as he reported from a makeshift shelter in Melbourne, Florida. He was doing really well, I thought around midnight, having been on the scene since 2 p.m. central time. His voice sounded strained, but he was running on adrenaline in anticipation of hurricane-force winds approaching.
Stepping back once in a while, I assessed myself. I felt impressed by my son’s command of his on-camera moments, his knowledge as well as his poise. I felt proud of his good work, especially reading Facebook comments from people who expressed worry for their loved ones and thanked him for keeping them updated. And, let’s get real! I cared about my son’s safety!
For a Unity minister who emphasizes being the calm in a storm, and who teaches about our divine ability to stay centered in spiritual confidence, I am admitting my perfectly human capacity to hold watch for my child’s safety. I feel good admitting Mom cares! An exquisite human trait it is, to care. To love. To share. It is prayer at it’s best, I believe. Bishop John Shelby Spong says so, too. In a recent blog, Bishop Spong told of how he transformed his way of praying after feeling the difference between witnessing intimately, tenderly, someone’s difficult life experience and attempting a formalized prayer for them. He concluded: “Prayer is the sharing of being, the sharing of life and the sharing of love.” I SO agree.
This Mom could not hang through the night. I went to bed around 2 a.m. after an update from my son that reassured me he was doing well. I didn’t need to stay upright in order to hold him up. Life was holding him up.
Awakening abruptly at 7:15 a.m., I resumed my watch and found my son still at it, expected to remain until noon Eastern time — a 21-hour stretch and then an hour’s drive home to Orlando. He looked good. Sounded good. Did good. This Mom’s proud — and sleepy.