As I sat glued to the newscasts leading up to and through Hurricane Michael’s devastation as it slammed into the Florida panhandle, I heard a line I will not soon forget. One of our senior state officials confidently stated Florida is strong and that no matter what comes Florida cannot be broken.
I could not help but take pause and think how intention often falls short of execution in communication. We say things and the words take on meanings that morph into the shapes of the communities that interpret them. That sound byte likely plays very differently in communities that are already struggling to get by, where people had few choices as they stared down a monster beating at their front door
Florida is strong, not because we can’t be broken. Florida is strong because we have been broken. And we have gathered and fused our broken pieces together in ways that make us stronger than we were before the breaking. There is a strength, a resilience that can only come through brokenness.
That is what makes us Florida Strong.
This year has been a different kind of storm for me personally (a topic for another post). I painted the print above while my power was out last year in our brush with Irma. I had ideas of what I might want to do with it, but life happened and it wound up as a simple Instagram post, then filed in a sketchbook and largely forgotten.
Today I brushed it off and set about turning it into prints. The profits from every Florida Strong print sold will be donated to reputable charities and local relief efforts working in the communities hardest hit by the storm. I am still getting in touch with friends who live and work there to find out where the proceeds would have the greatest effect. I’ve worked over 2 decades in nonprofit circles so I pick places to sow into very carefully. I will update this post when the partner work or works have been finalized.