Then through the watercolored windshield, I saw the church’s sign. It referred to the Act of God Formerly Known as Rita this way:
Just as my friend, the Rev. Jim Fuller, intended, it made me think. I’d already inventoried — again and again — my losses: A roof, several grand trees, a chimney, some windows, my fences, my sense of security … but how did I benefit from this disaster? What did I gain?
I gained wisdom. Some things aren’t worth worrying about, and some are. Houses can be rebuilt; homes cannot.
I gained a humbler perspective. Some things are bigger than we humans are, despite our swagger.
(OK, so not everything was warm and fuzzy because …) I gained a sobering view of insurance people. As a group, they’re insensitive and inefficent – at best – because they reduce human suffering to a financial transaction. Worse, they dictate the terms of the transaction.
I gained a sense of community. I met some neighbors for the first time when they stopped to help, or when I knocked on a door to see if help was needed.
I gained several cool garden decorations from someplace upwind.
I gained a better idea of just how long it takes a tree to grow. Too long to cut them down casually.
Finally, by losing significant portions of my property, I gained a firmer footing in the world.