Opinion Columns & Blogs

The randomness of storms meets the reliability of compassion

The power is off but, the mind is still working, at least as well as it ever did. My hope tonight is that every Georgian is as safe as I am and that goes for the people in Florida, as well.

Irma, reminds me of an aunt I once had who was as mean as a cornered badger and seemed to enjoy making everyone around her as miserable as she was. Irma used warm water from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, but this aunt of mine used rum, and it fueled many a night of darkness back in the day.

I drove around the neighborhood a few hours ago and saw two houses with pine trees protruding from their roofs. No one was injured, but it makes you think about the randomness of a storm or tornado. One home spared, the other taken. One family helpless, the other, helping. And the roles could reverse at any moment.

One thing is for sure, tomorrow, when the sun comes up, as it will, Georgians and Floridians will be about the business of helping each other recover from Miss Irma. I’ll be out there with my F-150 for anybody who needs it, as will others. As for my aunt, she went on to her “reward” a few years ago.

I like the idea of having to work your way into heaven, be it here or the hereafter, and if that’s the case, she’s got a few centuries to go. But tonight as I sit by candlelight, I want to talk briefly about the storm raging right here at the house, and it has nothing to do with wind but a lot to do with hot air.

A few family members decided to put themselves on a weight loss point system and included me in this absurd pilgrimage. A search for the holy grail of ideal weight (”a thing which cannot be measured”). A program that says, “You can eat whatever you like, as long as it doesn’t taste good.”

The program works, but only if you hate yourself and the beloved bread. I love them both. I’ve spent 70 years weathering the storms of life in order to improve myself, with not much to show, but not for the lack of trying. My fat is a testimony to the fact that, if I did nothing else well, I ate pretty darn good.

Bread, should be looked at as spiritual, if you will. Most gatherings of the early church promoted the breaking of bread, seen as the body of Christ. When I bring this up to my “counselor” here at the house, my aunt appears and I find myself gnawing on a celery stalk. Storms come and go and this too shall pass.

On another note, walking through the house with a flashlight can be very enlightening. It becomes a spotlight of sorts, reflecting all those things you cherish from objects to pictures to a loved one sleeping in a safe bed. I did that tonight and you should try it when you can. It may be one of the good things that came from Irma.

As I write this it’s September 11, and as I passed through the house I saw, illuminated by the light, the loss people suffered that day. Pictures of family, loved books, medals, birthdays and times that would go unfulfilled by family members who were taken by an act of cowardice.

It’s been an emotional ride this evening as I have an abundant life and yet see so many in need of love. As we hear the wind howling outside our windows on those stormy nights, let us listen carefully for the calls of those whose needs are greater than our own. May each of us find a way to lighten the burden of another, deal with this bread and diet “issue” and forgive those who make us eat celery. Amen.

Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.