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The island and the storms

There once was a man who lived on an island. The island was a good size, and many other people lived there. When he moved there, old-timers told him about the storms that regularly assailed the island. Sometimes the storms were light and passed by quickly. Sometimes they were very violent and destroyed homes. They told him how to prepare his house so it would not get damaged or cause harm to him during one of the storms.

The storms were predictable only in that they were going to happen, only nobody knew when. Sometimes they were seen far off at sea and everyone had a chance to batten their hatches. Sometimes they would spring up, seemingly out of thin air, and everyone who did not regularly prepare was at risk of damage from it.

The first storm of the season came in and he chose to ignore the advice of the old-timers. He’d not even gone to the store to buy supplies. Fortunately for him, the storm was fairly mild and his home did not get very damaged. The roof leaked in a few places, but it was still on at least. He chose to ignore the leaks, deciding they weren’t big enough to warrant his attention. Slowly the water from the leaks ate away at the wood and insulation in his home. Because he couldn’t see it, it went untended to.

Over the years the storms continued, some larger, some smaller. The damage to his house increased bit by bit, but he put it off, that being his nature. He could only be bothered to do repairs when they were impossible to ignore. Of course by then they were very difficult and costly and beyond his ability or skill to attend to. He often complained to his neighbors about how hard it was to be him, how difficult the repairs were, how large. He would often complain to anyone nearby about how unfair it was that he had to do these repairs, and now he had so many other projects he needed to work on. Some took pity on him and came over to help, bringing nails and shingles or new insulation. Some refused, saying they had spent all their money and time on materials to prevent damage to their own homes. Their unspoken statements were that he should’ve done the same, but they were too kind to say so. He often would whine about how difficult he had it, but most would not listen because they were busy with their own homes.

Then one day a large storm was observed far out to sea. There was about a day to prepare for it. It could not be avoided – they couldn’t get off the island and go to the mainland because the waters were too choppy from the winds. If he had been fortifying his house all along as the old-timers and his neighbors recommended, he’d have a chance of weathering the storm, but as it was he would barely have enough time and materials to prevent the windows from being blown out.

The storm grew closer, and he grew more anxious. He could see that he was directly in line of the storm, and started to openly lament his fate, saying that God must hate him and he must’ve been a terrible person to deserve this impending doom. He’d either forgotten or chose to ignore that he was on an island where storms were a regular occurrence. Many of his neighbors all over the island had gone through similar storms and had to repair their homes or entirely rebuild. But he didn’t see that because it had happened before he got to the island. They were the ones who had taken the time to warn him the most about the storms, yet he thought they were exaggerating or that such destruction couldn’t happen to him.

When the storm finally came, his house and everything in it was destroyed. He had no money to rebuild or move back to the mainland. He applied to the government for aid, and they – after interviewing his neighbors and asking if he had ever shored up his house in the past or tried to protect it, arrested him for fraud.
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The island is the human body. The storms are the usual misfortunes, problems, and troubles that happen in life. The old timers and neighbors are all those who advise us. We can choose to heed their advice or pay the consequences. We can choose to think that either we are above the normal storms of life, or that they are directly aimed at us by some twisted deity. Only those who accept the inevitability and prepare themselves for the storms will survive.

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