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30 minutes ago

30 minutes ago
I should have heard the familiar squeak of the swing
Even though I’ve told him a hundred times
To come inside and put away his backpack first

26 minutes ago
I wondered if the bus was running late
So I phoned a neighbor whose driveway
Is where his bus stops every day at 3:00

20 minutes ago
My husband drove through the neighborhood
Looking for the bus
Which was running late

18 minutes ago
The bus that was running late
Came to a stop at my neighbor’s driveway
But it was short one passenger

15 minutes ago
My husband was driving to the school
While I was on the phone with them
Asking if they’d seen him

10 minutes ago
I’m still on hold
While the woman on the phone
Does an “All Call” announcement
As I pray that he’ll answer

8 minutes ago
I’m wondering if the last words I told him
Were “I love you and I’ll see you soon”
And I’m praying that he’s safe

5 minutes ago
The woman comes back on the phone
And tells me he’s at the school
And he’s telling his dad
That he told me he had band practice today

1 minute ago
I broke down in tears
Because I realized
How much I take for granted
And I took my first real breath
In 30 minutes

(This post was inspired by true events of Thursday afternoon.)

Strength through the storms

image courtesy of

When you live on or near the Gulf Coast, hurricanes are a fact of life. Despite advances in technology, no one can definitively predict when and where a storm will reach landfall. Neither can we predict the ultimate devastation the forces of nature will inflict. With each named storm, residents consider the warnings and advice of the meteorological experts and then make an educated decision to do one of two things: seek shelter further inland or shelter in place. Given enough advance warning and time, we can always get far enough inland to escape the effects of a hurricane.

But what of those people who live on remote islands in the middle of the ocean?

I have heard of one such island in the South Pacific–a tiny yet self sufficient community of fishermen. No one really knows how long the island has been there. The inhabitants have no formal education to speak of, and their history is passed on verbally by the island storytellers from one generation to the next.

One such story involves another island. A neighboring island which they once called home. This island had a very special feature—a naturally occurring harbor surrounded almost entirely by a strong rock wall formation with only a small passageway by which boats could pass from the open ocean. Whenever the seas and winds would rage, everyone knew to get to the shelter of this harbor until the storms had passed. For untold years the harbor protected boats and residents from even the deadliest of storms.

The people were grateful for this safe harbor. And when the rock walls on either side of the entry point began to show wear, some of the islanders wanted to repair the damage done from the storms and the countless ships which entered seeking safe haven.

But many more did not. Surely, they reasoned, a fortress that has sheltered generations of fishermen would continue to remain strong. Others were privately concerned about the damage years of wear had inflicted, but chose to do nothing—hoping that the harbor would remain strong for at least as long as they needed a safe refuge from mother nature’s fury.

Ultimately, apathy and self-interest won out, and no effort was made to repair the stone fortress. The harbor continued to provide safety for the islanders. But years of neglect began to take its toll on the harbor. Though not visible with the naked eye, cracks began to form within the center of the rock formation. While outwardly the harbor seemed as strong as ever, internally its strength was diminishing with each passing day.

So when a relatively weak tropical depression made its way to the tiny island, everyone was shocked when the rock walls surrounding them began to crumble. The wall began sliding into the water at the innermost part of the harbor—working around towards the tiny inlet where so many ships had entered seeking refuge. The destruction was slow, giving all the islanders ample time to board their boats and escape into the open ocean.

Just as the last boat escaped through the inlet, the walls on either side sank into the ocean.

This was the safe harbor’s final act of sacrifice to the people she cared for and protected but who chose not to care for and protect her in kind.

A beautiful sacrifice, and yet such an unnecessary one.

This post is part of the blog carnival on Strength, hosted by Bridget Chumbley. To read more, please visit her site.