By Dorian Martin, I Start Wondering Founder
Sometimes life happens….
Yes, it’s been awhile since you’ve seen new content on this website. Twists and turns over the past two months have taken me far afield (and also have affected some of our contributors).
Life Unleashes a Monsoon
First, computer issues I experienced in late July took a while to resolve. But then things took a more devastating turn because of a death in our family. That loss – my three-month-old grandnephew died in his sleep – was unexpected and threw our family into a torrent of grieving.
A few weeks later, I flew out of Houston to visit my brother in Colorado – only to be stranded when Hurricane Harvey suddenly came up and flooded the region. My flight back to Houston’s Hobby Airport was cancelled and I had trouble rebooking a new flight. Then it dawned on me that my car, parked in a lot adjacent to the airport, had probably turned into an ocean liner. That car is one that my father left to me when he died; I named it Jacques – Dad’s middle name — in his memory.
Some of our columnists and contributors also were at the mercy of Mother Nature. Hurricane Harvey took a turn and avoided Brenda Riojas’ home. However, the slow-moving storm dumped a lot of rain on the areas where Brenda Grays, Liz Summer, Mara Soloway and Amy Ahlbrand-Robinson live. Around the same time, Kaye Olsson was dealing with smoke from wildfires near her home in the Northwest. Then Rhonda Collins had to evacuate in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Fortunately, our group didn’t suffer any property damage.
Returning Home to a Surprise
Eventually, I was able to make my way back home by flying into Austin’s airport. I filed a claim with the insurance company, secured a rental car and then waited for the appraiser to make his way to the lot to evaluate Jacques.
The appraiser warned me during our initial call to expect the worst because of what he had seen at other Houston-area parking lots. So imagine my surprise when the appraiser called to tell me that Jacques suffered no water damage whatsoever (even though some of Hobby’s runways as well as nearby roads and parking lots had flooded). I felt a wave of amazement and gratitude for this small blessing.
I retrieved Jacques this weekend and plan to give him a carwash as a welcome-home present. I also learned some important lessons during this two-month period:
- Don’t come up with the story’s ending prematurely. The surprise of having an unflooded car serves as a reminder that we often make up stories without having all the facts. Leave room for the surprise ending.
- Remember what is truly important. Being without a car was an inconvenience. However, my situation paled tremendously when compared with what others suffered in these natural disasters – in many cases significant loss of property and in some instances, the loss of life. Therefore, I want to take a breath when I’m stressed by circumstances beyond my control and take time to remember that things aren’t as bad as I’m projecting them to be. The situation could always be worse.
- Embrace gratitude. Times like August and September reminded me to be thankful for the small things in life. Those kindnesses included the waitress who loaned me a pen so I could take notes when trying to change my flight, the hotel worker who made me a cup of coffee as I waited for an early morning shuttle to the Denver airport, and the friend who drove to Austin to pick me up at the airport. These gifts encourage me to return the favor by finding ways to offer support to others in their time of need.
So we’ll be back sharing new content on I Start Wondering. Here’s to new adventures….