Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)
I recently read an article about Flashbulb moments. Those are times in your life when some event happens in the world that you not only remember with great clarity, but that help to shape your view of the world and who you are within it. Some might call them earthshaking events, and while the ground may not actually have wobbled, your mind might have as you try to take in such a monumental, life changing event. As a historian, I often conduct oral history interviews and am accustomed to asking people about their “flashbulb” moments although I had never heard that term before. For older generations, the answer might be the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Pearl Harbor, V-E Day, or the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped. I was not alive during those events, but the article and all the current news stories about the approaching ten year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, got me to thinking about what would be the flashbulb moments in my life. Over the next ten days, I plan to post about the top ten and end with the 9-11 attacks which was a pivotal moment for every American if only for the changes in our culture since that time. For me, one of my earliest memories is of a hurricane that threatened our home when I was a child. All this time, I have thought it was Hurricane Donna bearing down on us in 1962 or 1963 when I was 4 or 5 years old and our family lived in Clearwater, Florida. In doing some research for this post, I realized that that hurricane could not have been Donna because it impacted Florida on September 9, 1960. While Donna did exist for seventeen days and impact every state on the eastern seaboard, it could not have been Donna I remember. I would have only been two and we were living in St. Petersburg instead. While I do not remember the name of the hurricane, I do remember my father coming home from work early to prepare our house for the impending storm. I remember the sound of tape being pulled from the roll as he put crosses of tape on all the windows hoping that if something shattered the glass, it would hold in one piece and not send shards flying into the room. I remember the gusts of wind and the blast of rain against the side of the house. I remember going to sleep in the dark, not knowing if our house would stand against the assault. And I remember waking up the next morning in bright sunlight as the storm had taken a different track and our area was spared from its wrath. For my whole life growing up in Florida, hurricanes were a way of life. When we lived in places close to the water, we went to the homes of friends’ or family with excitement. A sleepover where the grownups joined us. There were even times in the doldrums of summer that I would wish for the intervention of a hurricane to liven up things. It was not until I was an adult and aware of insurance, storm surge and tornados that hurricanes became a thing to worry about. But, in my mind, when things get bad, not only with the weather, but with all the hardships that life can bring, I think about that day when I woke up and heard the birds singing and realize that the storm had passed us by. And I remember that the worst may appear in the darkness, but the morning and the light will eventually reappear.