Cone of Uncertainty



The hurricane’s cone of uncertainty

I am a veteran of hurricanes at this point in my life here in South Carolina, my first experience with Hurricane Hugo back in 1989. Each time we are threatened what causes me the most anxiety is the cone of uncertainty. I am by nature a long range planner. I like to know what is going to happen well in advance and I like to believe I have a modicum of control over events.

You can stop  laughing. I have learned that control of this life is an illusion or delusion depending on how cynical you are. Surprisingly, I truly began to understand that after teaching first graders for years, how we are flying around space on a rock as we travel around a burning ball of gasses.

I still like to plan, I begrudgingly admit those plans need to be flexible. As I have matured, I even handle the changes with a much better attitude than in my youth. Still, I  find a rise in my anxiety level as I adjust and adapt.

Even my writing career began because I was anxious about what I would do when my teaching career wrapped up in a decade. Now Four and a half years from winding down the teaching, I am growing more comfortable with the  transition.

The truth of the matter is we live in a cone of uncertainty all the time. We can plan a path, but at any time, it truly could veer to the left or the right, perhaps it could even u-turn. Whatever the course, if we have what truly matters as our resources: our integrity, our loved ones, our faith and our intelligence, then no matter what happens we will be just fine.


Roll With The Tide

The waves on Isle of Palms, South Carolina

The waves on Isle of Palms, South Carolina

This past Saturday I went out to the beach for a walk.  I often do this but I particularly enjoy this time of year, when the temperature is moderate and the bulk of the tourists are gone.  I love to walk and reflect sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend and even though a walk on the beach can’t solve the world’s problems or mine for that matter, I always leave the beach happier than when I arrived. This Saturday I had many things on my mind, from my fellow South Carolinian’s  who have suffered in the floods, specific friends who have shared their burdens with me and the night before I learned my mother’s best friend’s son had passed away after a battle with cancer. I did not know him well, both he and his brother were quite a bit older than me, but I have fond memories of when he was in chef school bringing over his professional knife set to teach my mama and I about them.  I also have memories of our two families getting together over the years for various holidays and meals.  I ache for his mama, she has been his primary care giver these last months and a few years ago she lost her husband to cancer as well. I prayed for her as I walked along.

When I look out at the ocean I am always struck by its vastness and in correlation my smallness in world. Yet I find the ocean as a strong connecting force between me and this creation we live in.  The water in the ocean is soothing and calming to the soul, in such contrast with the record-breaking rain and flood waters that have turned so many lives in my beloved state upside down.  Yet despite that upheaval I keep hearing story after story of hope, faith and goodwill much like after the church shooting this summer and my heart fills. South Carolinian’s rise to the occasion and set the loving example at every challenge.  As I thought about all these things I realized I had reached Breech Inlet (For non-locals, that is the water that separates the barrier islands of Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s) and I had started at the pier, the only way back was the way I had come.

So I turned around and focused my thoughts on prayers for those unknown to me but suffering in this world and to those known to me and who I love.  I was passing by a trio of children playing with an object in a newly forming tidal pool, the current was swirling and two of the children were frustrated that they could not get the object to go where they wanted it to go. The third child said, “Hey, guys it is going to go where the current wants it to go.”  That innocent comment was an “Aha” moment in my thoughts.

If like me you believe we have a divinely directed life path, then you understand that despite detours we might take, or road blocks we encounter we end up where we are meant to in the end.  That path is directed by an unseen current, a tide if you will.  We get in trouble when we try to fight that tide with our fears, doubts or when we listen to naysayers instead of listening to our hearts (That is where I believe the divine speaks to us). Doesn’t it make much more sense to feel out the divine current that is guiding and us and float with it?  As I reached the pier again and made my exit from the beach, I felt renewed and calm. I took one last look over the water and some sunlight danced and dazzled over the waves, what a gift to live by the ocean!  I plan to just roll with the tide, I have faith it will take me where I am meant to be.