Deserts & Hurricanes

September 16, 2021

Deserts may appear to be barren and empty, but they are a crucial importance to life.” -David Attenborough

The interesting fact about the desert is despite its arid climate, it teems with life.

It also serves as one of the world’s most important ecosystems.

Every time I watch a nature documentary and I do…. a lot. (It happens to be my me-time”), I remember this information about the desert.

Last year in Arizona.Last year in Arizona.

How many people can relate to desert seasons in their own life? I know I sure can.

The desert season for me has lasted for over a year now and while that might seem depressing, I do not mean it to be.

A desert is a rough place. It feels dry, harsh, and you find yourself wandering aimlessly like the Israelites. However, it is an important part of life that teaches you many lessons.

While I will not break down what this has looked like for me, I will say that in the past year I have learned a lot about myself….as just me. The real, full me. Not the Janea who can do things for other people or has a title to lean on. I have learned more so what makes me tick, and come alive. In this time, I have allowed myself to be sad, angry, confused…feel…wait…rest…laugh…try and be present (which is not easy for me). All of this time, not feeling like there was much significant purpose in this season. Yet, hindsight is 2020 and now I see…there was purpose (life) teeming in more ways than I could see.

The desert…it’s a crucial part of life that projects you to the next.

Lovely Sedona.Lovely Sedona.

I had been living in my hometown for about two years with my best friend. It was such a lovely time for us to heal, process, dance, sing, and be ourselves together.

We both knew a shift was coming but we did not fully know when it would happen or what it would look like.

Then on August 29, 2021, hurricane Ida touched down in my little hometown (and surrounding cities). Devastating damage that has and will change people’s lives forever. The includes my roommate and I’s house as well. Leaving it unlivable.

A picture of downtown Houma. (I do not own the rights to this photo.)A picture of downtown Houma. (I do not own the rights to this photo.)

I do not own the rights to this photo.I do not own the rights to this photo.

Our home or what was left of it…No more roof.Our home or what was left of it…No more roof.

My roommate’s bedroom.My roommate’s bedroom.

Mold and mildew that began to set in.Mold and mildew that began to set in.

My bedroom door that led to outside completely came off, exposing my room to the elements.My bedroom door that led to outside completely came off, exposing my room to the elements.

It appeared as though a bomb had gone off.It appeared as though a bomb had gone off.

This forced us out and to lean on the mercies and graces of family and friends. Ultimately humbling. Gratitude beyond measures, where thank-yous are not enough.

A house is replaceable but it’s the sense of home that I mourn and that is okay. It is also the separation from my best friend and roommate, as we have been feeling the Lord leading us in two different directions. Like I mentioned above, we both knew there would be a shift coming. We just did not know it would be this fast or this way. If there is anything I have learned in my short life, it is that you should never place a time limit on mourning.

I have no clue what life will bring, and I do not fully know my next steps, but I do know I am pressing forward.

A week ago, I went back to my home (or what was left of it) to let reality sink in and gather some remaining items. It reeked with the stench of mold, mildew, and sadness. I shed tears as I frantically rummaged through my dad’s old letters, important documents, and odds-and-ins, figuring out what to salvage and what to toss. It hurt.

There is a beautiful balance in life…one that I have not managed to master yet. That is the happy medium where being present, meets dreaming for the future. I am in that place currently.

While sorting through my remaining belongings, I looked over at my plants (yes, I am a plant mom…or was.) Some had died and some were struggling to live. Yet, there was one that was flourishing. My cactus. I snickered to myself, thinking about my desert season.

Funny, I thought…how a cactus can live in such a humid, poisonous environment and still be okay. Now…perhaps a few more weeks and that would not be the case. Yet, at that moment, I had a thought.

May I flourish in every season of life. May I be okay no matter what life throws. May I still be able to teem with life. May I be able to adapt, regardless of my location. May I live fully…inside and outside of the desert season.

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery