The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Irma Heads Right For Us (Irma #5)

Well...the highly unpredictable Irma changed course after making landfall in Marco Island, Florida. Instead of heading off to the northwest as most of the tracking models predicted, she decided to charge ahead almost due north. The problem for us is that this new course will cause her to pass directly over us here in Sumter County. Arrgghhh.

The Villages, our massive retirement community of well over 100,000 residents, spans three Florida counties: Lake, Marion, and Sumter. Our home is in Sumter County and is apparently in Irma's crosshairs. According to the seemingly wise meteorologists of Orlando's Channel 9 (WFTV), we will experience some very high winds beginning around midnight and lasting for many hours. We can expect things to settle down around 7 or 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Right now I estimates we're feeling the effects of perhaps 50 mph winds, along with constant torrential rains. It's quite noisy so winds perhaps twice as strong should really keep us awake. No damage yet...well, no damage heard or seen, but it's a very dark night. I'll have to wait until morning to survey the exterior of the house. I'm still a bit concerned about the live oak trees behind the houses on this side of our street. Although I don't expect Irma to uproot these large tress, her strong, shifting winds will probably rip off some large branches. We hope none will damage any homes.

Diane and Maddie are both asleep. (It's now past 11 p.m.) As for me, the storm seems to have awakened me -- some sort of stimulant effect. I also feel a kind of manly sense of responsibility calling me to watch over Dear Diane and our home. I can't imagine going to bed while Irma roars just beyond our thin walls. And someone should stay awake in the event of a tornado warning, so we can all -- Diane, Maddie and I -- retreat to the guest bathroom, our only interior room with no windows. 

We still have electrical power and all the other utilities we've come to rely on. And for this we thank both St. Elmo and St. Vitus. Our diocese -- the Diocese of Orlando -- has placed a prayer on the diocesan website. I invite you to pray:

May God calm the storms of our heart.
Let us pray that God will calm the storms of our heart. May we remember to check on one another as the storms arrive – our coworkers, our neighbors, our friends, our families – to assure each other of our care and concern for our safety and well-being.

May He bring safety to all in the path of the storm

We pray for those in the path of the storm, for all evacuating to safety and for all who will work to serve our communities and protect the dignity of life. May we take care of ourselves, our loved ones and those God puts in our path.

Let us pray for protection

Lord of mercy, watch over and protect all of your children in the path of Hurricane Irma. Please protect us and guide us toward safe harbors as we take shelter in you. Amen.

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