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April Showers Bring May Tornados?

The Sneak Attack of Trouble!

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the Hudson Valley and my City of Newburgh in particular experienced some unusual weather. A tornado ripped through our streets, literally stopping everyone in their tracks. A Tornado are uncommon to our region but there we were right in middle of one the worst storms I have ever seen. Roofs were torn off buildings like loose leaf paper; century old trees were uprooted like grass. The rain was blinding and the winds were forceful. Ninety-two percent of Newburgh’s power was out. (Food for thought: the tornado visited the suburbs as well as the inner city; it did not discriminate, and why do we?)

Before I go any further, let me personally offer my condolences to the families and friends that lost loved ones. Our deepest sympathy and prayers are with you.

Like this tornado, ‘trouble’ is also an equal opportunist.

It will knock on the door of us all, sooner or later. If we are lucky, as in this case, we will at least have some warnings to help us prepare for the trouble coming our way.  However, life does not always afford us that luxury.

For one to try and live a trouble-free life will leave one drained and highly disappointed. Instead, know that there is a strong possibility that things may not going according to plan and be flexible. How and when trouble shows up, is usually not up to us.

But there is a way for us to use trouble as a catalyst for change. Let me warn though, trouble doesn’t come alone. It brings with it a host of emotions like fear and uncertainty just to name two.

If fear and uncertainty, along with trouble, are allowed to go unchecked, they can and will consume us. Our thoughts, actions and behavior will be driven by them. Our decisions will be based on them. And when not put into proper perspective, we will begin to believe what people say! Defeated words like, “you’re not good enough, you’re too old, you’ll never start that business, you’ll never experience love again, you’ll never get over this pain” can become our new theme song. We say NO, to that song and scream out, “Hey, Mr. DJ change the record, please!”

Well then Gabrielle, if trouble is inevitable, how can we use it to our benefit? Since we’ve been given these lemons, we are going to make lemonade! We are going to listen to a new positive tune. A little after the tornado had exited our neighborhoods, my youngest daughter Jo-May, one of her friends and I walked down to my office on Broadway.  What we witnessed was AMAZING! Love in its purest form: caring and sharing individuals doing their part to make things a little better for someone else, friend or stranger. A kind person gave my daughter $20 for us to buy candles because the ATM’S were not working when she went into one of the local stores. I was happy to pay it forward by sharing my hot water with a mom so she and her children could shower. We didn’t know each other before the tornado, but now we are forever friends. Our children are now friends.  Businesses and community members donated their food and pulled out grills throughout the entire city. People came together, not just for the food, but for companionship and to make sure that everyone was safe. I saw humanity. I saw love. I saw the city I call home illuminated without electricity.

Let this message be a reminder to us all that whatever the trouble is or however it may come, we have the power within us to overcome it. Trouble will reveal our weaknesses as well as our resilience. Trouble does not last always. Right now the way looks dark and the pain is unbearable, but this too shall pass. You are not alone in this life; you do not have to carry this burden by yourself. Let Love in and allow others to help. Silence the negative voices of defeat and fill your mind with positive words of victory.  Finding things to be grateful for will become your strength. Connect with someone who may be in a similar situation. You can and will get through this storm. You are still here to fulfill your purpose. It did not destroy you. Claim your healing and experience it now!  Let’s not only survive, but let us thrive and shame trouble every time it shows up.

Fondly yours,


(Gabrielle Burton)

Other articles by Gabrielle Hill