(Sept. 19, 2017)

This is my first email since we experienced hurricane Irma. There is no way to convey to you the magnitude of this storm. Most of the Caribbean Islands we visit each year were devastated; some families had to tie themselves to palm trees with ropes to survive! My beloved state of Florida was battered, but for the most part, power has been restored (thanks to the amazing linemen from FPL, and volunteers from several states) and the rebuilding has begun. The Florida Keys—places my wife and I love—were hit directly, with homes, businesses, boats, etc., destroyed.

Many Floridians are basically “numb;” however, everyone in our neighborhood and state is coming together. The unnerving general feeling is probably worthy of an acronym, PTHD (post traumatic hurricane disorder.) Your continued prayers for Florida are appreciated, but as I write, Puerto Rico, Dominica, and the Virgin Islands also need our prayers right now, as another hurricane, Maria, is heading their way.

Naturally, disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, and floods, are both frightening and extremely stressful events. With that being said, a lot can be said about keeping a cool head in the heat of adversity. As I am sure you saw on the news or read on social media, hundreds of thousands of Floridians were evacuated, many fleeing the state entirely.

Lillian and I received many well-intentioned emails and Facebook posts begging us to leave. When I prayed, I felt we should stay and open our home to family members (and their dogs!). After all, as a native Floridian, I have weathered many hurricanes. Just last year, Hurricane Matthew was headed directly for us, but at the last possible minute, it turned east! When it came to Irma, I felt an otherworldly peace and went to work day and night to prepare for the storm. I started my labor on Labor Day … it was exhausting work. I now have a new term for hurricane preparedness, “preparation H!”

Besides the typical physical work before and after the storm, there are two things that have made ALL the difference for my family during highly stressful times in our lives. First and foremost is my faith in God and prayer. God is a VERY present help in time of need. God is my hiding place.

Psalm 32:7, “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.” Psalm 91:9-10, “If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”

In other words, we do all we can do, yet ultimately, God does the heavy lifting…He is our refuge. Second, we not only play Wholetones in the house to create an atmosphere of peace, we also play the music outside. During Hurricane Irma, we lost power, phones, and Internet, so the only news we had was via AM/FM radio.

I wanted to keep Wholetones playing outside, so I hung Wholetones To Go units on the porch. The wind and rain were intense, but inside, we felt a supernatural peace. From late Saturday night until 4am on Monday, the winds howled.

On Monday morning, the sun came out. When I went outside, I was shocked: besides some debris, there was no damage! In fact, before the storm, as I was moving all of the outdoor furniture, planters, and other loose items to sheltered locations, I started to remove my cathedral birdhouse from its tree but then sensed I was supposed to leave it alone, as an opportunity to see a miracle! After the storm, the birdhouse, which was not nailed to the tree, was unmoved and unharmed, as was a tiny birds nest!

God’s love is beyond comprehension, His eye is on the sparrow, and His hand is upon me. I am beyond grateful for your prayers, support, and patronage, I love you all. Please pray for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean … right now!

Until next week,

Michael S. Tyrrell

P.S. If you know anyone who could benefit from my weekly musing emails, here is the link to subscribe: wholetones.com/subscribe