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Adversity Can Forge Strong Bonds

Adversity Can Forge Strong Bonds

Recently, Joan and I returned to the tiny Caribbean island of pristine natural beauty where we spent our honeymoon 30 years ago. A few days after we arrived at Peter Island, Hurricane Gonzalo suddenly formed “out of the blue” and was heading directly toward us.

The skies grew ominous, torrential rains began and the palm trees bent sideways under gale-force winds. We scurried to the only storm-proof building on the entire island - a house that normally might comfortably accommodate about 10 people. Once there, we hunkered down with everybody else who happened to be on the island - some locals and others who were visitors like us, about 70 people in all.

As nighttime fell, the electricity went out, plunging the island into total darkness. Behind boarded-up windows we curled up on the floor, bracing for the full force of the 145 mile-per-hour winds from the Category 4 hurricane that was bearing down upon us.

Miraculously, less than an hour before the leading eye wall of the hurricane was expected to slam into Peter Island, Gonzalo suddenly turned northward and raged out into the open Atlantic. By the light of daybreak, we could see the beaches were strewn with debris, but the little island was largely unscathed. A lovely woman, a resident of the British Virgin Islands who been with us that night, smiled at us with her eyes twinkling and said, “It was the hand of God that pushed that hurricane away from our island. We survived the storm, now we are all family.”

The fondness that Joan and I felt for this paradise before our near-miss with Gonzalo, was only magnified by the bonding experience we had with the other inhabitants of Peter Island that night. Our last five days there turned out to be very memorable and enjoyable because we got to play with 68 of our new best friends from far-flung places like Ireland, Trinidad, California, England, Tortola, Denver, New Zealand, Wisconsin, India and Florida.

In Good Health,

James O'Keefe, MD

Picture Credit: Creative Commons Pixabay