Feeling Inspired and Hopeful - November 2018




Last week we visited the home of a friend whose neighborhood had suffered the wrath of Hurricane Michael’s Category 4 winds. A towering tree near a rear corner of his house had toppled, causing its giant root ball to push up through the floor inside and take up permanent residency in a back room. The scene inside was surreal, particularly because from the outside, the home looked unscathed. Right now, we feel a bit like that house: okay on the outside, but topsy-turvy on the inside. 

But we also feel inspired and hopeful—maybe more than we’ve felt in a couple of years. Politically, our country might be as polarized as we’ve ever seen it, but witnessing the local response to Michael has restored our faith in Americans’ ability to be civil. As surrounding communities rushed to the aid of our shattered one, there was no red or blue, no black or white, only people helping people, with shared urgency and kindness. 

Local churches and businesses, and even many individuals acting on their own, passed out food, water, clothes and diapers, never asking for a dime. The day after Michael blew threw, Primal Nosh, a Pensacola-based meal preparation company, was organizing an effort to get meals to those in need—and they don't even do business in Panama City. Fraternities from the University of West Florida were voluntarily clearing trees that had trapped people in their homes. Publix sent in caravans of tractor-trailers loaded with food and supplies. Seemingly overnight, relief supply depots sprang up in local parking lots so that people could drop off items to make life a little easier for others whose lives had been turned upside down. The help came from far away, too. Power companies from across the country sent armies of linemen and trucks to rebuild our destroyed power grid, and telecomm companies brought in temporary cell towers to replace our smashed ones. 

What we have witnessed as a community is unmistakable evidence that the American spirit—generous, compassionate, determined—prevails. Reflect on that the next time you start feeling like humanity has gone nuts.

As self-care is particularly important in stressful times like these, we hope you’ll follow the wise health advice in this issue of Natural Awakenings, especially our feature article on page 24, “Supercharge Your Immune System,” which offers all-natural ways to protect your body against illness. It’s so much better to prevent disease than to deal with its aftermath.

That wisdom also applies to the health of our planet. Hurricane Michael was a storm for the record books, another dramatic warning that our climate is changing, and that we must do everything in our power to minimize our contribution to the problem. We also must adopt stricter building codes and other measures to better immunize our community against the impact of future storms. That sounds like a daunting task, but if Michael has taught us anything, it’s that we are Florida Strong. 

We’ve got this—as long as we’ve got each other,

Scott Chase

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