While our thoughts are with those in the aftermath of hurricane Michael, I am reminded of a trip I took south, in the days after hurricane Katrina.
We left Nashville after midnight, pulling a trailer weighed down by drums of gasoline and supplies. My husband and brother took shifts driving through the night, and it was morning when the three of us arrived to our grandparents home in Laurel, Mississippi. Shattered remains, flooding and power outages, describe the landscape in Florida today, and in south Mississippi back then, in September of 2005.
Even in a time of crisis, as my grandmother coordinated Red Cross efforts, staging safe refuge for hurricane Katarina victims, she graciously received volunteers arriving to aid in the clean up of her own property, serving lemonade on a silver tray.
True hospitality knows no limits, and is rarely forgotten in a time of need. The imagery of the moment is indelible in my memory, because a ray of the morning sunlight caught a corner of the silver tray my grandmother carried-The bright light caught my eye, as if intended to highlight the garnish of garden flowers she had lifted from scatter and placed on the tray. She shared the hopeful beauty she found in the moment.
The cold beverage quenched thirst, as the gracious reception raised spirits, in the midst of the devastation of the hurricane. It reminded us that treasures are to be found amidst the most difficult moments. Silver lining optimism, like this simple act of hospitality, inspires, and lives on in the heart.
I pray for those who will face loss, and rebuilding in the weeks and months ahead.