Publisher's Note: Fall 2010
by Lisa Burwell
“For everything there is a season...” —Ecclesiastes 3:1
This past spring, a virtual collective sigh of relief could be heard in nearly all circles of life. Maybe the season of our discontent, which had spanned three to five years for many in Northwest Florida and beyond, would be coming to an end. Lots of hope ensued as it felt like we were nearing the finish line and life might return to normal again. Enter the oil spill. An eternal optimist at heart, I was momentarily leveled to the core, as I wasn’t sure how much fight I had left in me. A deep weariness crept into my spirit, and I hoped for better days ahead. The Leviathan-like beast growing in our pristine waters was a tough monster to fight, but somehow, someway, we’d all make it—right?
After several weeks of shock meets “you’ve got to be kidding me,” a new fight emerged from within me—I had worked too hard to turn back now. How could the end of the story turn out like this? What were the last few years of struggle all about? Would we have to move? Would everything we’ve all worked for be wiped out? Would an apocalypselike ending take us down? How much can we take?
As I heard my own thoughts echoed by many others and recognized the look of worry in the eyes of my neighbors, friends, and colleagues, I wondered what would happen. On day fifty-four of the crisis, a lone evening walk on the beach led me to seek God and ask Him what was going on. As I begged the Creator, in a simple and childlike conversational prayer, to protect the beauty that He had made here, I also hoped to hear His answer.
As I pondered the many questions I had that day, I felt a peace come over me. Staring out at the Gulf from Seagrove Beach, I so appreciated her beauty and didn’t want her marred. And then a still, small voice whispered in my spirit ... “I made all waters and they are vast. More vast than you can imagine. I can fix this. Believe!” That was my personal experience of weathering yet another storm, and one of the great lessons I learned from it is that no matter what may come, I rely on God to sustain me. We are really at the mercy of fate and destiny.
I am well aware that we may have many battles ahead to overcome, and that the long-term effects of the oil are not yet realized, but what I do know is that this area of the world we all love so much has dodged a bullet, and that life could be much worse. And for this, I am grateful.