faith and acceptanceI was recently at the beach during Hurricane Harvey. Luckily the storm missed Gulf Shores, Alabama while I was there. I was there with a group of my high school girlfriends. It was the first time we’d ever planned an out of state trip together. And, we were fired up for the trip of a lifetime! As we stayed tuned-in to the news though, we couldn’t help but feel somewhat guilty for our good fortune in the midst of Houston’s devastation. Texas is my home state. I used to live in Houston and love the city dearly. So, although I had a great time with my friends, my heart also tugged toward the lone star state.

The weather was beautiful in Gulf Shores while we were there. The sun shined brightly and the balmy breeze kept us just cool enough to forget we were getting sunburned. The only sign of Harvey was that the ocean was a little rougher than usual. And, it was a bit churned up, so the water wasn’t that clear, calm aqua, but a stormy dark olive green instead.

I don’t know about you, but the ocean is therapy for me. This time, the sounds of it were off-the-charts beautiful. There was the constant shower of foaming sound like you’d hear at Niagra Falls or a large water fall. Layered on top of this, the larger waves made a soft cascading boom as they broke before the shore, followed by the more gentle tinkling sound as the shallow waves washed up over each other onto the beach.

As I walked the beach, taking in the sound and sights, I was captured by the little white sea birds. They lined up along the little ditches that held water that ran parallel to the ocean. And undisturbed, they waited out the rough waters of the gulf. They went about their business without a hitch, bidding their time peacefully on the sidelines while they waited out the turbulent waves – hunting and pecking for bugs, communing, watching the ocean and sometimes backing up a few feet as a human walked past too close.

Time and again, I am reminded by our feathered and furry friends how to weather turbulent times. We want to hold onto stress and worry, color over the present with past experiences. Just as the birds moved out of harms-way and went about what they normally do, I’ve seen deer and other animals do the same thing. They run from predators and as soon as they’ve escaped danger, they are back to peacefully eating grass a minute later. They don’t hold onto the stress of it. They don’t make it their new freaked-out reality. As I watched the cute little sea birds go about business-as-usual despite the raucous sea, I made a mental note to do the same in times of trouble. First, move out of harms-way. Next, relax, breath, get back to business and know that everything will work its way out.

There’s a certain faith bestowed to our wild kingdom. Our animal friends seem to innately know that things will be what they will be and the best thing to do is flow with it. Next time you perceive trouble, remind yourself of my little white feathered teachers; I know I will. May you always find peace in the face of a personal storm. In the meantime, let’s send a ton of prayers towards those that have experienced loss and devastation. And, look within to find deep gratitude for all the humanity and heroic selflessness that is being displayed in these weather-torn areas. As these generous acts, helping hands and coming together one for the other warms our hearts, let it be something to which we pin our hopes and future. Blessings!

Sandra M Bell