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In the early 1920’s, my grandfather arrived at Ellis Island from Italy. He settled in a town eight miles away. He and my grandmother raised six children. While four of them stayed close to home, two of my uncles moved sixty miles away. One of them spent his honeymoon in Florida and told the family that one day, he would move to Florida. Eventually, he and my aunt moved their two children to Florida, leaving behind his snow blower. Gone were the days when he had to scape the ice off the windows or shovel the driveway from snow.

While they were still in New Jersey, my cousin Frank and I always enjoyed each other’s time together. One of our last adventures was a canoe trip down the Delaware River in August. The river was running low and there were not a lot of rapids. I saw some “foam” and went for it. It turned out to be a rock. We landed on its side, the canoe spun around, the gunnel went under the water, and we “successfully” (if that’s what you want to call it) bent and wrapped an aluminum canoe around the rock. I’ll tell you the rest of that story someday.

Fast forward the calendar and it is the end of September 2022. Hurricane Ian is bearing down on the Gulf coast of Florida. All week long, the weather report was saying it was going to be a direct hit on Tampa. The mayor of Tampa was interviewed, saying that no hurricane had hit Tampa in 100 years and she was hoping for another 100 years. That’s the area my cousin lives in.

I called him to see how he was doing. I pressed him to see if he was evacuating. I was expecting a “yes” and had planned to invite him to stay at my house until the hurricane had passed. Those words never came out of my mouth. He wasn’t going to evacuate. I was confused. 

At the time, Hurricane Ian was a category 4+ hurricane. By plus, I mean it was only a few miles per hour shy from being a category 5 hurricane. There was also the concern about the storm surge.

He decided he and his wife were going to ride it out. I asked about putting plywood on the windows. He had hurricane proof windows so he was set. In another house he lived in, the water had come close to them, but never got to their house. He reminded me that in all the years he lived there, no hurricane had made a direct hit on Tampa. He was confident that the storm was going to change course and he would be safe. 

Was it faith? Was it arrogance? Was it Italian stubbornness? It was his decision to believe that the hurricane would not make a direct hit on Tampa and he would be safe.

Did my cousin have faith? Yes. Sometimes faith can be seen as a wish in a force somewhat like  Star Wars. You can’t see it. You just hope it’s there and it hears and answers you.

From my perspective, faith is confidence in a person – that being the person of Jesus Christ. Because of his resurrection from the dead, I have confidence that my faith is in the living person of Jesus Christ.

Do I agree with my cousin’s decision not to evacuate? No. I want him around for a long time. Do I respect his “gut” that said he’d be fine? Yes. The faith I refer to goes beyond a gut feeling.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.


Rev. Tony Marciano is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. He is available to speak to your group. Learn more here.