With the canopy restrained, our efforts focused to salvaging what items we could from the spot where our booth once stood neat and orderly. We could see honey, herbal oils and homemade soaps flung to the ground by the toppled display shelf. The grass quickly lapping up the golden honey spilling out from broken jars. Soap was slipping and squirting out of our hands at every attempt of being collected from the rubble. Cards still stood where neatly placed on the table, soaking up rain water. Business cards, signage, flyers, email leads and contacts that had been collected, now waterlogged.
We were standing under the awning of the high school, seeking shelter from the windstorm blowing through. Only minutes after reaching cover, my husband and I looked up to see our vendor booth canopy catapult over the stadium fence and engage in a full-out sprint across the football field. It progressed down the field like a graceful gymnast tumbling full-speed ahead to the end zone. Our eyes instantly met as our jaws dropped. We
With the lightning storm still approaching we were forced to abandon our spot of destruction and take cover under the awning of the boys’ locker room door. We stood there with other vendors until the rain stopped. Our clothes were soaked and dripping puddles on the concrete where we stood. What just happened?
The dollar loss being tallied in my head wasn’t looking good. Standing there in the rain, I had asked myself, “Is God trying to tell me this isn’t where He wants me?” After all, I did pray asking Him to bless this adventure before leaving the house. Okay, it was a hurried prayer, but I still asked for His blessings and for my works to glorify Him. I would remain stunned and in disbelief for several hours as to all the wasted effort and materials put into this event.
That evening, and the next morning, we sorted through the rain soaked mess. Turns out we could salvage a lot more inventory than originally thought. Neither the images or printed words of the cards were smeared. When dried, they still looked good despite slight warps in the paper. Salable? No. Good enough to be passed on to friends or as notes left in public places where their words could still be a blessing? Yes. The drenched email addresses, containing notes from conversations with booth visitors, dried without smear or ink run. Completely readable.
Then there is the blessing I didn’t mentioned earlier. As we stood at the locker room door during the storm surveying the booth damage, our circling eyes landed on the observation beehive we had sitting on a folding table once protected by the canopy. It was still standing just as we had left it before evacuating. Now a couple thousand angry bees flying around among the other destroyed vendor tents and attendees… that would have been a disaster! What we experienced was only an expensive lesson in booth displays and tie-down strategies.
Many times, after a storm we discover the damage is not always as bad as we think. Sure, it may take time for things to dry out. Some will be lost forever, and with others we must use a gentle, careful touch to restore them as best we can. But God is right there standing beside us as we go through the process. Not only us, but others going through similar and even more devastating storms in life. We are thrown many flea flickers going up and down the field between goals, dreams reached and those missed. Some goals are easily reached after a small setback or two. But others… you just have to punt and carry on. When life doesn’t go as expected, and the path we are to follow goes directly through the storm without an alternate route around, rest assured God will be walking with you as you trudge through the muck and mud. If you look for the blessings God will provide during your journey, you might even find yourself dancing as you exit the storm!