Hurricane Ian Recovery, Day Six – Survivors vs Victims


Posted originally on the conservative tree house on October 4, 2022 | Sundance 

Ms. Veronica, an incredibly wise and multigenerational counsellor of souls.

Ms. Veronica is a lady of impeccable generosity, identified not simply by the hospitality and greeting, but also by the few moments of grace deserved and afforded in polite request to make herself more ‘presentable‘ for unexpected company.

Upon return, Ms Veronica immediately became Vera, a woman, widow, great grandma and neighbor who may not have enough, but she’d give a stranger half – and they would never know.

This is a powerful woman filled with a message. “Hurricane Ian did not create victims,” she immediately captured my full and undivided attention.   She continued, “I am not a victim.”

There are dead people, and there are survivors.”

Long pause.  The depth of her eyes, intense.

I am wise enough to notice moments when my prior opinion of self, strength and fortitude are immediately being redefined. I am also smart enough to stay silent.

Our loving God does not create victims, and apparently he is not finished using me.”  Veronica’s eyes now alight. “In this moment I am filled with rejoicing,” she said, “because I know there is a purpose I have yet to fulfill.”  From me, more smart silence.  “How incredible is it for me at 90 to realize there’s more use, more purpose, and more time,” she concluded.

Then, just as casual as one might order a familiar coffee on any ordinary Tuesday, Vera asked…. “How is it I can help you boys?“…

There are rare moments in life when we say the right thing.  For me today was one of those moments. My reply was simply, “I think you just did.”

You know something, she’s right.

All the Mr. and Mrs. Veronica’s are not victims; none of us are.  God doesn’t create victims – people do.

How stark is the reality of hearing, “there are dead people, and there are survivors.”

If you are not in the former, none of us are, then we should rejoice and realize we have purpose yet unfulfilled.

♦ Scott from Fort Myers beach lost every worldly possession including his home.  Scott is not a victim.  How do I know this?  Because I’ve seen Scott over several recovery efforts, and today I worked side-by-side with Scott for almost two hours before someone passing a water bottle told me he lost everything.

Eventually after the task at hand was accomplished, ear plugs removed, I asked Scott what he needed.  His reply was simple, he didn’t know enough yet to be able to answer that question.  Oddly, I think I understand.  Scott needs to accomplish the two feet in front of him.  Purpose within this moment, because his new normal is miles ahead.  Yes, today I was the incredibly shrinking man.

Now the fun part of this…. Remember Veronica?  When she said, “how is it I can help you boys,” Scott was the plural, he was standing right beside me.

When we jumped in the back of the truck, he leaned over and said to me, there’s the answer to your question.

The message was big.  Ms. Veronica was the vessel, and it was Scott -not me- who was the intended target.

♦ Cynthia (aka Cindy) and John are successful small business owners.   They are as attached and committed to the Cape Coral, Florida, community as any young couple could be.  After originally planning to ride out the storm, they changed their mind.  Late last Tuesday they loaded their car with all their most important possessions and evacuated a few miles inland to stay with friends.

Cindy and John survived Hurricane Ian and returned late yesterday to survey their property and evaluate if they could start to rebuild.  A massive power pole and tree blocked their driveway, but from the street it looked like the house was structurally okay.  Nervously John and Cindy navigated the debris and went inside to check.

In the fifteen minutes they were inside their home, someone stole all their possessions from the car they parked on the street.

Cindy and John are victims, that’s the difference.

Oh, and the guy who handed me the water bottle and told me about Scott’s loss….  That was John.

Today I learned again that bearing witness makes you small in comparison.

Love to all,

~ Sundance

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