Everything I’ve Learned about COVID, I Knew from Living on the Gulf Coast

  1. Hurricanes are Dramatic. So is COVID.

Hurricanes change lives in dramatic, unstoppable, irreversible ways. So does COVID. The difference, though, is most of the hurricane drama happens in one long night of trees crashing, windows shattering, and floodwaters soaking everything. Through that one night, everyone is praying for the hurricane to pass and morning to come.

So far, COVID has felt like 130 straight nights of praying for morning. The unbelievable keeps happening–then more drama tops that. More people have now died from COVID than I ever even believed would even get it. And more uncertainty everyday about what the next right step is.

But, dear friends, here’s what I’ve learned: morning will come. It always does. After the terrible destruction, a fresh day with a new perspective breaks through. We will be able to look at each other again and see that we were all just afraid for a bit there. And now it’s time to figure out the next steps–slowly and together.

  1. We Keep Learning How Little We Control.

Spoiler alert: nature wins. This is a terrible surprise that comes with every hurricane. We can track the thing on radar and we can shield our walls & windows against the wind and rain. We stockpile water and evacuate to higher ground. 

But in the end, all that we can really do is hunker down and wait for the warm Gulf waters to have their way with our homes and towns.  

I’m surprised every single time to realize that I basically control nothing. This lack of control feels like the most painful part of the pandemic. Four months of hiding out in our houses and waiting for it to pass. This isn’t life. This feels ridiculous. This is hard.

This is the tough truth–we’re not really in control. God is. When I’m in a good place, that feels like soul-deep security. Other days, I want to stomp my foot and order back everything that felt normal.

  1. We are All Way More Connected Than We Ever Thought. 

Every hurricane leaves behind a trail of downed fences. Against high winds, those six-foot privacy fences that divide yards fall like Lincoln Logs. Funny isn’t it? Every time–the first reality in hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods is the expansive space where there used to be division. 

What follows is the best, unexpected part of a hurricane: the deep care for one another. First, the cul-de-sac barbeques to clean out freezers that don’t have power. Next, neighbors work shoulder-to -shoulder to muck out homes and to rebuild neighborhoods.  

While the media shows footage of endless destruction, neighbors with kayaks rescue people stranded on their rooftops. Entire football teams haul out water-logged furniture. People circle up and pray together.

It’s happening right now with COVID. You can read about division and hate and political outrage. Or, you can look at the sacrifices people are making for one another. This is the real story. We are changing. We are seeing how connected we are. This is the transformation that will last into 2021–and then beyond that. 

  1. There is a New Normal Coming. It Will Be Better.

After the 1900 Hurricane hit Galveston (the worst natural disaster to strike our country), the residents banded together to build the seawall. Even now, 120 years later, modern engineers marvel at their ingenuity. How could they construct this barrier that’s fifteen-feet wide and ten miles long, with only the equipment available in 1902? 

How? Because finding a better way was everything. These men and women had watched family members drown. They had lost too much. They refused to lose any more

This is always the story of rebirth, isn’t it? The old pain is too much and so a new system is built. It’s constructed on the ashes of what didn’t work.

I don’t know what will come from COVID. For our family, I can tell you that we don’t need all the activity we had in our Old World. Okay, so, yes, a bit more activity would be nice–but not hair-on-fire, crazy-busy, like we were before.)

What will the rest of the world change? How will our new lives look different? What are we learning right now? What are we birthing?

What about you? Where are you from? and what lessons did you learn to prepare you for COVID? What will be different for you, when the morning finally comes?

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