This is surely how Dorothy felt after a wild time in OZ. The last two days in Pamlico County, North Carolina have been a wild ride indeed. We had seen the pictures that the two brave souls had sent following the impact of Hurricane Irene. We had seen the water and the downed trees. We saw that we had a roof and walls. We did not see what was waiting for us. The water that dragged down the bulkhead had taken our steps and landing and lifted the deck off it piers. So much water had been on the porch there were piles of floating debris, including once living fish.
The power of this storm had swept 6 homes from our street, and damaged many others. We spent the day tearing out sheet rock, like we had done in Katrina and Floyd. Don’t mean to brag, but Tom and I have become pretty good at mucking a house. We still have no electricity. But we have had water for cool showering. We had no Chris Grabe and Ned Hill in the kitchen preparing a hot meal after a day’s work, but we had a big cooler and a cooker that barbecued chicken. And we had a generator that kept the fridge going until today.
And we have had help this day. Leitha and Mickaela who cleaned mud off the floor…. Kenneth and Junior who pulled insulation from under the house. Wayne and Lisa furnished the big cooler and the generator. Richard came and worked with Tom to tear out the sheetrock. Paul and Jim and Leslie and Chuck and Jenni and Amy from everyplace offered help. With such support we will recover.
Tonight on the trip home, we stopped at the Golden Corral in Kinston. Still in our mucking out clothes, I worried that we were under dressed. Then I saw four guys get out of a truck who looked like they had been, as Southerners say, “rode hard and hung up wet.” We met the dress code.
Sat down next to these men, and about 40 others who were dressed alike. They were from Electric Power Companies from South Carolina and Charlotte. They we having supper and going back out into the field to turn the lights on in Eastern North Carolina. I don’t know their names, but I thanked them and clapped for them and whooped and hollered my thanksgiving for them. And for all who have helped us this day.
Tonight we are home again for a couple of days. A warm shower and cool night in the AC await. I am aware of the blessing and privilege I have for a home to come home to. I have often thought about the band-aid of mission work I have done throughout the years. A week here, a week there. Then I come home again while those who have “benefitted” from my beneficence remain in their poverty and despair. What have I done to change systems of ignorance and poverty? What have I really sacrificed to change and bless the life of others?
Lord, I pray this night that this inconvenience of a flooded home will teach me lessons I do not even know how to ask for tonight. Fill my heart anew with compassion for those around me and fill me with a grace to accept what is and a strength to be honest about how I need to relate to the material things in my life. I pray for all those who have blessed me in this time with concern and help. And for those I know who have greater trouble – especially Mary and Cynthia in Hatteras and Buxton. There was a beautiful sunset over us as we began our trip home. God is in heaven and right here with all who can see. Thank you, God, for home and for family and community that shares in the suffering and comes to help. Amen.