As many of you who are reading from Hawaii know, last week we were put on a pretty severe Hurricane Warning / Watch, waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Lane. Lane, at it’s worst, was a Category 5 Hurricane – which, by the end of her slow movement, was downgraded to a tropical storm, and, though she left a lot of rain in her wake, and some fires on Maui, was altogether much less devastating than we feared she could be.
Now, I don’t know about you, reader, but I am NOT a patient person.
The process of waiting for Lane to arrive, as she slowed to a crawl of only 5 mph, was excruciating.
I was with my parents on the Big Island, which was expecting to get hit kind of hard. Fortunately where they are in Waimea was okay, save for some rain and some wind. As the rain would fall I would look up and ask, “is THIS it? is THIS the storm?” — there was an element of waiting for something dreadful to happen, both hoping it would hurry up so we could be done with it, and also wishing it wasn’t happening in the first place.
As I sat and thought about it, I was reminded of the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane. Waiting, for something dreadful to happen, that they didn’t really understand.
When Jesus asks his disciples to stay up and pray with him for awhile, they give in to their basic temptations and fall asleep. I have often read this verse and been critical of the disciples. “YOU GUYS!” I say in my head, “Jesus needs you! What’s the matter with you! You can’t even do this ONE THING?! Have a red bull or something, for goodness sake!” As you can see, I can be a kind of harsh judge. I fall in to the trap of presuming that if I were there, I would have done things differently.
In waiting out this Hurricane, I had to come face-to-face with some bold truth about myself: If I were there, I probably wouldn’t have done things differently. I probably couldn’t have.
One of the reasons that waiting through the hurricane was so odd for me, was that I wanted to just go back to normal. I wanted to ignore what was going on in the news, and ignore the rainfall, and just be in a routine. But, nothing was routine. Even going to Foodland felt strange – there was an air of anxiety around the store, and the empty water shelves proved the panic going around.
At one point, my sister and I got so stir crazy that we went to Longs, deciding to buy some cheap nail polish and face masks, to entertain ourselves. “You’re brave,” said the cashier, “to be out in the storm like this!”
The disciples, I think, are brave for even being in the garden of Gethsemane. I’ve never given them credit for how far they DID go with Jesus – only ever criticised them for what I saw as their lack. But before they fell short, they showed a whole lot of courage.
Waiting for something dreadful, which is beyond our understanding, can be very trying on the human spirit. While I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, I do think I walk away from Lane with some newly learned lessons.
Waiting, it turns out, can be brave.