My husband and I had a wonderful time away in Hawaii last year. While the weather was mostly cooperative during our visit, we learned much about how the Hawaiian Islands continue to evolve and change because of many natural events. On the Big Island we saw how the Kona coast is still struggling to rebuild when a tsunami hit after the Japanese earthquake. We visited the Volcano National Park and saw the steam coming out of one of the major craters and wondered if it would “blow” while we were standing on the observations deck. We walked on lava fields and were fascinated to see how molten lava from many different eruptions had cooled in ways that create artful landscapes. In the midst of the “rope” patterns of lava, I was moved by the small green plants beginning to take root.
We also visited the island of Kauai and saw how the devastating hurricanes in 1982 and 1992 radically altered the natural landscape. Yet in the midst of these traumatic events, the forest plants and animals not only survived these dramatic events, but they changed and evolved in some amazing and beautiful ways. The islands immediately embarked on recovery. Birds foraged new sources of foods while trees and plants bloomed out of season. Water from the falls found different paths that brought new life to other parts of the island.
Many of us have witnessed the unexpected raging storms, especially those of us living with a mental illness, that have changed our lives forever. I get comfort from the words found in Psalm 57:1, “In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge until the destroying storms pass by.” My prayer is that we commit ourselves to be present to and be in relationship with persons experiencing “destroying storms” until they can move into the light, find hope and discover the new possibilities God continues to offer to each of us.