So when I accepted the call no one ever told me about a baptism by storm!  And so begins my first “official” day of ministry at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers.  I am happy to report that the only storm a-brewin’ appears to be quite literal.

Already Fay has caused upheaval in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Our hope is that the winds stay slow and the rains light when the storm reaches Fort Myers.  The church office will be closed tomorrow (Tuesday the 19th) and we will assess what Wednesday looks like when we get there.

When I think of Fay, I think of the etymology that some would say comes from fe meaing fairy, or, in ancient Greek, the fates.  This category 1 hurricane Fay has us wrapped up in a common fate here in Florida.  And shutter up and hunker down as we might, we don’t have control over the weather or the warmth of the ocean that can cause the storm to pick up speed (well, technically we have something to do with the warmth of the ocean, but that’s another blog post!).  Natural disasters are sometimes the most pressing times for us spiritually.  We become the characters in a play directed and scripted by the fates, as fickle as the weather.  Our children or grandchildren question why bad things like storms happen to us and why grown-ups can’t completely control the weather.  We give up control to the immediacy of responding to the moment, to the struggle of giving no certain guarantee to our children except that we vow to keep them as safe and as loved as we possibly can.

We also have the opportunity to reassure one another that we care.  Making the choice to care for one another IS something over which we have control.  Sending our thoughts and prayers to those who are suffering in the aftermath of Fay is something we can do.  We can make meaning out of this stormy time by making sure that our neighbors are secure, offering a helping hand if needed.

My prayers are with you that we remain safe and sound, or, as my grandmother would say, “snug as a bug in a rug.”  Andy and I have great resources among our neighbors and friends here in Fort Myers.  We, too, promise to keep as safe as we can.  This is my fist chance to prove that I am not just a fair-weather friend.