Looking for the Good: 15 Gifts from Hurricane Irma

Our neighborhood after Irma cookout

Our neighborhood after Irma cookout


Look for the good.

This is one of my mottos.

I try to practice it all the time. I have said it to my children and to my team at work: Look for the good. It’s my effort to actively believe that Romans 8:28 is true: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

As we completed most of our Hurricane Irma clean up, restoration and restocking, I began to think of a few good things that have come from Irma’s visit. My list grew to 15:

*In anticipation of Irma’s arrival, I cleaned out the fridge and freezer (with help from my friend’s daughter). All the out-of-date items are gone!

*I also cleaned out my packing room so Steve’s brother could spend hurricane night here instead of in his manufactured home. We enjoyed a sweet time together.

*Our son was in a precarious position in a manufactured home on a hill right in the path of Irma. He and his wife and children moved in with his wife’s parents, leaving some 20 animals to fend for themselves. I enlisted hundreds to pray for them. Their home suffered only limited damage, all the animals are safe, and a new calf was born.

The animals were safe and a calf was born

The animals were safe and a calf was born

*I practiced patience—Irma took her time.

*I responded well to repeated surprises—she kept changing her mind about which direction she was headed.

*I slept through the worst 3 hours of the overnight storm.

*We had only minor damage, and our friend was able to repair it. Our neighbor helped Steve gather up the many tree branches and bind them for trash pickup.

This was my young grandboys’ favorite climbing tree

This was my young grandboys’ favorite climbing tree

*Seven neighbor families gathered for an impromptu potluck cookout using food from fridge and freezer before it went bad. We loved reconnecting and the hodge-podge meal was good. Many said connecting with neighbors was the best outcome from Irma.

*Orlando’s large rain deficit for the year was erased.*I have always wished for lakefront property. The conservation area (aka swamp) behind our home filled up so much from 10 inches of rain that we now have a lake behind us.

*To escape the heat, humidity and lack of internet while our power was out, we spent the night with some close friends/coworkers. Conversation was lively and we were so grateful for the welcoming hospitality.

*I experienced Increased appreciation for all the service workers—medical, utilities, law enforcement, trash. Steve’s brother is in produce distribution and had to be back at work the morning Irma was moving out. Our nurse neighbor headed to a 12-hour shift, just when her husband, a manager at a utility company, was returning.

*I had some great time with Jesus and prayer with our family, as well as prayer for and from many others.

*As we were returning home—power was restored—we drove through a flooded street right toward a double rainbow.

The double rainbow, as we drove thru flooded street, was a promise

The double rainbow, as we drove thru flooded street, was a promise


*As terrible as Irma’s destruction was, especially in the Caribbean, her meandering avoided direct hits on highly populated areas: Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville. So many more could have lost everything, even their lives.

Yes, it was a long and devastating experience. So many have lost so much. Recovery for many will be lengthy and expensive. But even in all the calamity, God’s presence was real. Prayers were answered. Neighbors helped each other. Thousands have come to assist in recovery.

And the good is visible.

How about you? What good have you seen in your latest storm?

C 2017 Judy Douglass