As I sit here in my post-hurricane, pre-power-restoration home, I realize that my world has shrunken dramatically, something I wrote about just a few weeks ago in “A Shrinking World.” Consumed with yard debris cleanup, finding gas for the generator, checking to see if any power crews are working on our street and carefully navigating extension cords in my home, I haven’t paid attention to much of anything else going on in the world. I haven’t given any thought at all to Houston (Hurricane Harvey), Los Angeles (wild fires), North Korea (nuclear missiles?), Mexico (earthquake), Key West (so many houses destroyed), or even flooding in the town next to us.
My world has become minuscule, my home being the locus of my attention. It stretched back as far as the church today, as power was restored there. It stretched a little further out as I went with the youth group to help clean out someone’s yard. Finally I had the chance to contact some colleagues in Naples and Jacksonville to see how they were doing, and burst the confines of my tiny world.
I previously asked the question, “At what point does your world begin to shrink?” An answer I hadn’t anticipated was when you shift into survival mode. But it’s not permanent. It begins to expand again as you both seek and give help. It gets larger as you meet those who help you and whom you help, some of whom may have come from far away places. When you know you’ll survive, you begin to look down the street, into the next town, and across the state to see how they are surviving, coping and helping.
Maybe our world needs to shrink for a moment in order to give it time to expand. Like exhaling all the air in your lungs so that you can take a big, deep breath of fresh air once again.