“Otie! How nice to hear from you.”
“Have you been watching the news? There’s a huge hurricane heading your way.”
“You know hurricanes never hit us. They always change course and go north.”
“Not this time Mom. This one’s different. It’s massive. They say it’s the storm of the century.”
“Otie, I’ll be fine. We may get some rain and a little wind. I’m not leaving my home just because you think the sky is falling. Believe me, it won’t.”
“The governor has mandated immediate evacuation, Mom. The storm is so big that even if it does swing north the outer banks will still be hit.”
“Yeah, the police were here warning everyone to leave. You should have seen how fast my neighbors boarded up their houses and took off. They’re sure gonna feel foolish when they get back and find everything just as they left it. They tried to get me to go with them but I’ll have the last laugh.” Maude was thoroughly enjoying that thought but what was Otie saying?
“You’re coming to get me? Oh, all right. I’ll pack a few things and leave within the hour. Satisfied?”
“I just hope it’s not too late, Mom. Please hurry. I don’t know what we’d do if something happened to you.”
Maude hung up the phone with a sly smile. By the time Otie figured out she was not coming the hurricane would have turned north and he would be calling to tell her that once again she had been right. After all, she had lived on the outer banks of South Carolina for 64 years. She knew a thing or two about hurricanes. She did go out and look at the sky though.
Black clouds were roiling on the horizon. The wind was picking up and the ocean was dancing with white caps. Maude decided she should tape her windows up just in case there were some strong wind gusts. Then she would have supper and go to bed. When she awoke in the morning the sun would be shining and life would go on as usual. Instead, sometime in the wee hours of the morning Maude woke up suddenly. She was sure she could hear a woman screaming. She threw the covers back and stepped to the floor but instead of sinking her feet into plush carpet she stepped in a foot of water.
Confused Maude reached for the lamp but it would not turn on. A loud crack overhead brought a palm tree smashing through her bedroom ceiling and Maude knew. Hurricane Erin had not gone north as she predicted. Its fury manifested itself all around her. The shock of it kept her frozen in place while she considered the seriousness of her situation. She was totally alone, caught in the ravages of the storm. How could she have been so careless? The warnings were all around her yet she had been determined to go her own stubborn way.
Maude thought of her son. He must be frantic and it was her stubborn fault. “You foolish woman,” she told herself. “Now look at the fix you’re in.” As if to confirm the gravity of her situation an enormous wave crashed over her tossing Maude about like a rag doll. She grasped for something to hold on to as the wave pulled her toward the churning sea.
Valerie stopped reading and looked up. Her Sunday school class looked at her expectantly. “Go on. Tell us what happened,” they urged.
“I can’t tell you what happened because the end hasn’t been written yet,” she explained.
“In this story, Maude had plenty of warning a storm was coming. Her neighbors took heed of the warning and fled to safety but Maude refused to listen and she was caught unprepared.
“The Bible tells of a foolish man that built a house on a foundation of sand. A terrible storm came and blew the house away, leaving the man to face the ravage of the storm alone and unprotected like Maude.
“Another man also built a house but he built on solid rock. The same storm overtook this man’s home but it stood firm and he was sheltered from the tempest.
"The question is which man are you? How is your story going to end? God sends the warning but it is up to us to be prepared. Will you heed the warnings or foolishly go your own way?”
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