There was a time in my past where I was constantly angry on a consistent basis. Anger helped me navigate through life and plow through people like they were nothing. Why? Well, in my case, I used it as a way to get even with the world. At that point in my life, I wanted others to experience outwardly what I was manifesting inwardly — my personal hurricane.
My hurricane didn’t have a name. It didn’t have a timeline. It didn’t come on slowly, then dissipate. There was no warning, or chance to flee – It was sudden and hovered over my life daily.
But in my hurricane, there was a choice.
At the age of 20, I had enough. I was fed up with the anger, depression and bitterness that had engulfed my life. I was ready for a change and needed to uproot myself from the atrocious life I was beginning to lead.
But I had no idea how to do it. No plan. No direction. No faith.
A few months after my 20th birthday, in December of 2007, I had the pleasure of sitting with my cousin “M”. We hadn’t spoken in a sit-down conversation since we were kids. I knew within the first few moments of speaking with her that she had wisdom beyond her years. We caught up and talked about everything under the sun. It was late one night when she daringly decided to share her faith in Jesus Christ with me – an addict of anger and bitterness.
I must admit that my thoughts toward her weren’t all that favorable in that moment. (That’s a nice way of saying – What the heck was she thinking!?) But, she did it and I listened. I had often heard about God, but I didn’t know what it meant to believe in Jesus. The more she spoke, the angrier I became. I remember bits and pieces of our conversation, but ultimately I fell asleep that night knowing – according to her beliefs in Christ – that I would go to Hell.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
I won’t get into the details, but soon after our conversation about Christ I became extremely ill with walking pneumonia. Again, I only remember bits and pieces, but when I look back I can’t help but to think that God was silencing me for a reason. He wanted me to just sit, rest and think about Him. God knew in His infinite wisdom that I wouldn’t listen otherwise.
“There’s a lesson in every silence.”
― Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel
I was sick for nearly 2 weeks. When I came out of it all, I felt peace. I wasn’t angry anymore. I was thankful. My heart felt joyful and I was thankful to just be alive. It shifted my perspective from hating the world to embracing it.
My cousin hugged me for the first time since our conversation and I told her I wanted to believe in Christ. We talked about it some more, but ultimately I knew that the responsibility fell on me to follow up my new decision to follow Christ with the next step – whatever that meant.
I struggled in the following months. I questioned my life from several different angles and wondered if I could handle being a follower of Christ. The biggest question on my mind at the time was would I be able to cope with working through my problems, rather than just use anger as a shield against the world? The only way I knew to combat all of the walls I had put up throughout my life was to take a leap of faith into a new adventure.
Little did I know my personal hurricane would follow me on my adventure.
At the end of January 2008, I made a major life-changing decision to move from Pennsylvania and attend a university located near my father in Florida. It was a change that I thought would help push me back onto a path of healing, forgiveness and renewal. Almost 8 months to the day I was saved, I landed on the CHRISTIAN college campus, which served as my short-term home for nearly 4 years.
My collegiate adventure was filled with amazing joy, sorrow, happiness, frustration, growth, love and faith. I met people, professors and peers from all walks of life. We all had one thing in common – Jesus Christ. It was at that college and with all of those amazing people that I came to heal from my personal hurricane.
It was the eye of my hurricane. My peace in the midst of my hurricane.
Sure, there were problems while I was in Florida and I ultimately returned back to Pennsylvania, but without that peace – even though it was only a few short years – it helped me get back on track to where I was meant to be the entire time.
So today, as I sit at my computer screen, and see images of Hurricane Matthew off of the coast of my place of peace I can’t help to think of all of those people that helped me during my personal hurricane.
God be with all of you and may He keep you safe.