Ahhhh! I find myself sitting in my living room on the couch for the first time in almost a week with a clear mind. So much has happened in this past week.
A week ago an impending hurricane had everyone in my area on heightened alert for the possibilities. Sadly some of the most horrendous possibilities came true for quite a
few of them. Every possibility from a few inches of water in the house to total and complete loss of homes and businesses has come to pass. I feel so bad for them. Me, inside this almost 68 year old body screams to help, but I can barely get into my own yard and work. I try, but more than 30 minutes at some things has me dizzy, disoriented and stumbling and have to come inside to recover. Heat exhaustion can be a bad thing. My blood pressure dropped to 94/66. Fluids, fluids and more fluids. To some that reading would be their ideal or even normal readings, but to me? No. Enough of that. I take care of myself and hope for everyone else to find the strong young ones to help them.
I went out yesterday to run some errands for stuff we need. It’s not much. While out I saw a lady in a dually pull out in front of another lady in a car, which ran the car lady off the road. Fortunately no contact was made and there was no ditch to be pulled out of. The car lady was quite shaken up, but I stayed by till her husband got turned around to come back. He was just a bit in front of her. The truck lady was very apologetic, but still she made a left turn out of a parking lot at an exit that clearly had a right turn only configuration. Her excuse was that she was in a hurry. I don’t think hurrying was a necessity over possibly hurting someone.
The biggest complaint I’m hearing is Duke Energy is hardly to be found anywhere in the town of Richlands. Jones-Onslow EMC has power back up in many areas and is highly visible to the public around here. Not Duke Energy, though and they have told some customers it could be several day longer than we, who already have power a couple of days ago. It’s not for the lack of lineman in the area. I’ve even seen Tideland guys in the town hooking up huge power generators to gas stations so they can operate their pumps. I know these guys come from areas hit at least as hard as us.
The church that used to be Praise Tabernacle where I attended for some 30 years is in a total shambles. Shingles are gone and the inside of the building still had water standing in the floors. Ceiling tiles either have fallen out from the weight of water or bulging near to falling out. Insulation covers the floors Everything is going to need to be removed and replaced. This condition will create mold and mildew without treatment. I estimate at least $150k in damages. This instance is not isolated. There are many homes and businesses in the same shape or worse.
I lived through many hurricanes such as Bertha, Fran, Isabel, Dennis, Floyd, Bonnie, Irene, Matthew and Sandy, just to mention a few. Florence, that just visited us, has been the most damaging storm of them all. Up till now Fran held that distinction. Even so, I still would have stayed here in my own home. A brick dwelling with a solid roof. My only concern was a pine tree that is now chained off to another pine with the chain behind another tree on the way around so that if it decides to finish falling the the chain will make it fall away from the house. I am waiting on a tree service to come cut it down.
My front yard is cleaned up and my roof is cleaned of all debris, so from the road everything looks normal. Just don’t meander into my backyard. From back there to the woods looks like a disaster site. . . which it is.
Something that is big to me is that the inside of the house is back to normal. I’ve washed the bed sheets and anything else that has been slept or sat on like the couch cover, etc. All the wet clothes have been washed and dried. Towels, wash clothes, floor mats, you name it. It’s cleaned. I’ve swept the entire house and all the bit of leaves and other debris are up and gone. The house is now where it was a week ago. Now when I go outside I can comfortably come inside to a clean house and sit down after a shower and relax.
When I shopped yesterday I saw collards that looked really good, so I got a small amount (about 3 pounds). I stemmed, seasoned and cooked them this morning. For summer collards, they are pretty tasty. Dinner tonight will be that and shake n baked boneless pork chops. My wife is at work and I dare not let her come home without dinner ready. She deserves that luxury. God gave me a wonderful woman. She’s beautiful to me. The person she is cannot be matched.
During this storm time she’s read a book called the Turquoise Table. I listened to her talk about it and came to realize it’s about a woman who truly wanted to know her neighbors and a picnic table the color of turquoise was put in her front yard and people began to congregate over time at this table. Libby has always loved people and more than that she loves to cook. She has expressed to me the desire to start a project to have all of our neighbors to our home for dinner. Not all at once, but a couple or two, just to get to know them. I saw in the spirit realm what her thoughts would likely develop into. If she follows through with this, I’m in agreement with her. I also see this becoming a ministry of hospitality for us. We would become a place where people can come and feel welcome and share their hearts and perhaps at some point the entire neighborhood can gather. I told her she might want to look at the bigger picture. This is how a lot of churches start, but that isn’t something we are looking at for now.
So, hurricanes, can spawn more than wind and rain. They can also allow the mind to stop a moment and observe the nature and calling of God. People lost their homes and possessions, but let’s concentrate on Him. Loss can sometimes mean a fresh beginning. I never look at anything with negative circumstances as anything more than a challenge of something to overcome. I cannot express that enough. God’s hand is shown when diversity comes. And it’s not a closed fist. It’s an open hand. Look for it. It’s there. Waiting for you.