Mike and I travel to St. Maarten on Saturday, to see how our precious island has recovered from Hurricane Irma. We will be there for the first anniversary of the hurricane, September 6. We lived through that hurricane and want to go back and see how the island is recovering. We are not able to stay at our place since it will not be reopened until at least October. We will be staying in a part of the island that was not as damaged as was ours.
Another reason for the trip is to write the last chapter of the book about our Hurricane Irma experience; the rest of the book is already with my publisher. The book is not just about those experiences, but several other life-changing events that occurred to me in 2017, and my lessons learned from all of those experiences.
What a difference a year makes. Or does it? In some cases, many things happen in a year, and we are changed forever. In other cases, many things happen in a year and we remain the same. No, we do not remain the same. We either go forward and grow, or we remain stagnant and regress. What accounts for the difference? After much reflection, I think I know my answer to that question. (Note I did not say “the answer,” but “my answer.”) While I sometimes think I know “the” answer, all I really know is mine. Had I learned that difference earlier in life, I would have been spared some heartache. Since I didn’t, I get to relive the same old lessons over and over again! I hope that has changed; we will see.
I am more than curious about being in St. Maarten in a couple of days. I am also nervous. There is a part of me that does not want to relive that fear, be in those places, and feel that powerlessness. There is the other part of me that knows that I need to be there in those places while the island is still recovering, and for more reasons than to complete the book. It is a necessary part of my healing.
My answer to the question posed above, what accounts for the difference between those who learn and grow from difficult or traumatic experiences, and those who don’t is: the meaning we find in the experiences, and our lessons learned that are applied to our life.
One lesson I learned from my 2017 experiences is the fragility of life. In a split second, our lives can change. I can’t help but think of the four teenagers who were at a slumber party several days ago and who were helping to push the host of the party’s car, and in a split second, were hit by another car and killed. My experiences are not even on the same level as those teenagers and their parents.
What has been going on with you in the past year? Are you learning and growing, or regressing?