Hurricane Lane got a lot of us feeling a little exposed right now.
Our visceral side came out. The one that surrenders to sheer panic and fear. The one that, in a moment to save our family, takes the last water in target, and eight cans of french cut green beans, and waits in line for two hours for a tank of gas. In this great show of chaos came a rapid spread of false information: rolling blackouts, water getting cut off, roads being prematurely closed.
Let me be clear, this fight or flight was very validated. This was the closest a hurricane had come to Hawaii, and a Category Five at that and this time, it was going around instead of through Hawaii Island, who is usually or big brother that shoos the bullies away for us. For me personally, I went from not knowing about Lane to seeing them shut down schools, and government operations for three days and then came the constant alarming on my phone. I didn’t need the alarm, of course, because my eyes have been glued to the news constantly. Days off from work are supposed to be refreshing but instead the only thing that got refreshed is my social media feed, seeking answers and that crystal ball of what. the fuck. was happening.
Fast forward to Friday, and spoiler alert, Lane hath completely dissipated, but continues to dump devastating amounts of rain on Hilo, Hawaii. Thats right, our big brother island handling the bullies for us again. Lahaina is recovering from a massive fire that cost residents their homes. You don’t usually equate hurricanes with fires but wind plus electric lines plus more wind and I guess thats a fire. And a bad one at that. (is there every a good fire? perhaps the warm kindling kind you can roast marshmallows over).
And so we are now in the stage of storm information where people are either expressing frustration/confusion that the impending storm did not look like they had prepared for or people are expressing frustration/anger that people are expressing frustration because many people did indeed suffer terrible damage.
Wether for the pain of our neighbors or the fear in our heart, in one big exhale we all call out and release. Is there any wrong way to express this? Is shaming others going to rebuild the communities? Or do thoughts and prayers do that? Maybe instead of attacking what people are saying we need to focus on how people may be feeling and especially how we can help.
We are all coming from the place of vulnerability. Pain, frustration, even indifference, are all coming from the same place, it just sounds different.
And what really matters is what we are capable to do next.
In a lot of ways this storm brought out a sense of community. I saw a lot of reaching out, and helping. Opening homes and helping. A lot of well meaning expressions of love from neighbors and across the globe. Yes, love is where it is at, people. Those who have sprung into action and pulled others together to get this recovery underway before it is even over are the heart and soul of what makes this community so special.
As Lane continues his dance below us, the rain and wind will pass, and the community will pick itself up and put itself back together. My first to-do today is get together supplies for those in Lahaina, where many are without homes. This doesn’t make me a hero, or even generous, it just makes me sad, and in needing to find an outlet I do what I can. I’m sure there will be many fundraisers we can contribute to too. And even if we have nothing to give, we can always, always give our empathy, love and patience.
Whatever Lane brought out in you, even if it was ugly, leave it there, find the love in it, and act in that way.
last two photos: Jerry Rivas and Getty Images