As I approached the keyboard to begin this article, the muffled sound of the generator outside of our house served to remind me of the stormy conditions associated with Hurricane Florence.
Sitting quietly and motionless for some time, I decided to write about the value of properly facing the storms of life.
Notice that I referred to the generator as being outside our house, not outside our home. Our houses are just the places where we create our homes. Properly created homes cannot be destroyed by hurricanes. Also, they can be maintained and even enhanced while we repair or rebuild our houses or businesses.
Our houses and other property are extremely important and should be highly appreciated, maintained and improved. They shelter us from the elements and provide comfort and many necessary benefits for our well-being. But, as we have seen again with Florence, even with the best of planning, the ravages of nature can quickly change any of our physical conditions and circumstances.
When stormy weather hits, some of the really important physical things in life actually become really more important to us. Water, food, electricity and gasoline become more important the day after the storm than they were the day before the storm.
Interestingly, in our initial communication with each other after the storm hits, we almost universally say, “So good to hear your voice, are you OK?” Then, with relief, we say, “I am so glad you are safe.”
Those kinds of statements are spiritual and are not motivated by concerns about the physical status of our property. Our temporal concerns about our property come after we check on how safe we are from bodily harm.
It is after our lives are secure and we face the challenges of repairing our property and getting our businesses back into production that we can fail the test of the adversity created by life’s stormy weather.
With those thoughts in mind, there is value in properly facing adversity because it is not if but when we are going to face them. Do you remember what Uncle Remus told Brer Rabbit? “You can’t run away from trouble. There ain’t no place that far.”
The test is how we act when facing the certainty of adverse conditions of any kind. Surely Albert Einstein was correct when he observed, “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
An anonymous author was also correct when he said, “Adversity doesn’t build character; it reveals it.”
It is most often in the heat of the moment when we act good or act bad. Being a nice person during good times is good, but being a nice person during bad times is better. During our recovery from Florence, nerves will become thin and irritated. In an instant, a tongue connected only to an impatient brain and not to an understanding heart may create scar tissue that can last a long time.
John Collins reminds us that “in prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends.”
It is our tendency in life to expect a series of green lights with a parking place right next to our preferred destination.
It don’t happen that way. Things do actually become bad on many occasions. It is important to remember during the bad times the old Danish proverb, “Bad is never good until worse happens.”
Our recovery will be slow, but we will recover if we do friendly things for each other!
We, the people, should make an extra effort to be nice when we experience adversity and always remember it takes 62 muscles to frown and only 26 muscles to smile.
N.C. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Warsaw, represents House District 4, which comprises portions of Wayne and Duplin counties.