Now that we have power, and spotty internet (thanks to my neighbor for letting us latch on to her wi-fi until Verizon gets here who-knows-when) I can begin posting some of the stories from Superstorm Sandy!
It was a rough night. Hurricane Sandy blew into town with a vengeance. There’s a tree down on my neighbor’s house, and when it fell it took with it half of a street light in front of our house and ripped all the electric wires for our street down, plunging us into the expected darkness. The wires criss-cross our driveway, our front yard, our street. Emergency crews came and quickly placed caution tape on one side of our little group of houses, then the other. We are smack dab in the middle of it – the wrong side of the caution tape.
The wind began to make noises like I’ve never heard before, and trees bowed to its howling in reverent respect, swaying in a worship-stupor. Probably stupid, but after we put the kids to bed in a mattress on the floor of our bedroom (as close to the middle of the house we could get them) we sat at our window in the dark and watched the sky light up with the blue and red and eerie electric white of exploding transformers. It was a show like none I’ve ever seen, when the light would show us the worshipping trees.
And yet in the midst of this, even when the bursts of wind came stronger and Michael and I would stop mid-sentence to see if we heard the tell-tale cracking of another tree coming down – God’s presence was thick – thick like honey, sweet and gooey, right here, right now.
It started in the morning, before the storm made landfall, with my devotional: “Your time of being still in My Presence equips you for the day ahead of you. Only I know what will happen to you this day. I have arranged the events you will encounter as you go along your way. If you are not adequately equipped for the journey, you will grow weary and lose heart. Relax with me while I ready you for action.”
This was, by far, the scariest storm I’ve ever been through, and I’ve been through a few. But inside, deep inside, the stillness of God’s reassurance blessed me to no end. How sweet, how wonderfully, wonderfully, sweet of Him to reassure me in such a way!
I was sitting, cozy and warm, in my arm chair, enjoying the light and reading my Bible when the tree fell silently on my neighbor’s house. And it was silent. What I heard was the snap of the telephone pole as it split in half, the pop of the severed wires as the tree must have gracefully rested its head on them. Those wires are what saved my neighbor’s house. The lights went out, and I looked out the window at the snapped pole, the street light now dangling from the tree next to it. I never even saw the tree on the other side, its roots in the air, which had pulled up the entire sidewalk and curb. Only when my husband came to look and said, “Holy crap!” did I notice it – and instantly panic set in.
Garron is in the National Guard and of course was called up for the storm. Roxanne was home alone with their two little ones – 18 months and a newborn. We immediately sprang into action. Michael bolted next door to check on them and I called 911 as neighbors from across the street began to spill out of their front doors, shouting their concern.
In the end, they were okay. Roxanne’s dad came to get her and bring her to a safer place. The house really had no damage – the wires saved it – but our street was now plunged into darkness. The police came, placed caution tape, and left. That was really all they could do until the storm passed. Michael and I tried to stay calm as we got the kids to bed then took our place on the couch together. We listened to the singing of the wind, the percussion of snapping branches, the soft whoosh of large limbs dancing their way to the ground. Eventually we half-slept, natures orchestra entertaining our dreams.
The next morning, as we began our new, temporary lifestyle of darkness and cold, my devotional-by-flashlight read:
I am with you. I am with you. I am with you.
And thus began a week’s worth of survivor mode in the ‘burbs.
(To be continued.)