“M andatory evacuation is in effect for all residents of our district within the next 24 hours. A major hurricane is headed our way.”

Chezky’s eyebrows arched up to his hairline when the automated phone call’s announcement blared through the answering machine. A hurricane! Wow! Nothing like this had ever happened to him before!

“Ma, should I start packing?” He scrambled downstairs to get a suitcase, breathless with excitement.

“Yes, Chezky.” Ma’s face looked pale and her lips were pressed tightly together. “But everyone can only take one small suitcase plus a little tote bag. We don’t have space for more than that.”

Nodding, Chezky dashed back up to his room.

“So only pack your most important things, okay?” Her voice followed him up the stairs. “Things you really need.”

“No problem,” he called back over his shoulder.

“First things first,” he muttered, opening his closet and staring at his collection of model airplanes that he had spent so many hours putting together. “There’s no way I’m leaving these behind.”

One by one, Chezky gently deposited each plane into his suitcase. He was surprised to see how much space they took up; half his suitcase was already full. Oh well. There was no doubt they were definitely very important.

Then he looked around, debating what should come next. His eyes swept over his trophy collection — five proud gold trophies standing like loyal soldiers on a shelf over his desk. They conjured up happy memories of Mishnayos contests and the spirited fun of many baseball and soccer leagues. He certainly couldn’t leave those behind!

Carefully, Chezky arranged the trophies in his bag, giving each one a fond pat. Suddenly, Chezky jolted. My Gameboy and camera! Chezky breathed a sigh of relief that he had remembered and quickly tucked them alongside his planes and trophies. And then a small knock sounded and Abba stepped into his room.

“Almost done, Chezky?” Abba asked with a sad smile.

“Just about,” Chezky replied.

“Good.” Abba nodded and looked at the open suitcase. Standing like a statue, Abba simply stared at the contents. Then he cleared his throat.

“Chezky, I think you’re forgetting something.”

“What, Abba?” Chezky was puzzled.

“Clothing perhaps?” Abba faced Chezky.

“But, Abba!” Chezky protested. “I don’t have any more room. And these are things I just can’t give up. They’re a part of me! I worked for them!”

“Chezky, I know.” Abba’s eyes were misty. “But we have no choice. We don’t know how long we’ll be gone. Everyone needs a week’s supply of clothing. And once you have that, maybe you can squeeze in one or two mementos.”

“One or two?!” Chezky’s voice rose and his eyes burned with unshed tears. “But-but it’s not fair! These are my treasures. I can’t just let them get ruined by the hurricane. Abba, no!”

“I know it’s hard, and I’m so sorry.” Abba gazed deeply into Chezky’s eyes. “It’s hard for all of us. But this is what Hashem wants from us right now. We really have no choice but to trust that Hashem knows best. And be thankful that we’re together and safe.”

With that, Abba turned and went to see how Aviva was managing. Four years younger than Chezky, she probably needed a hand. Chezky watched him go and stamped his foot. He didn’t want to be thankful. He just wanted to be angry, to stamp his feet and sulk. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 684)