Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I can remember few days when school ceased due to weather storms bigger than a few inches of snow and ice.  This week’s hurricane went into history books as one with far-reaching damage despite its category 1 status.  Truthfully, I feared more what the inside of my home would look like rather than the outside when all was said and done.  Though our home is far enough inland not to be devastated by coastal storms, we have enough kids in our home to stir up plenty of chaos and kid-sized destruction.   Please don’t take me too seriously.  I in no way diminish the extreme damage that Sandy has brought to my home state.  However, there are just some things that a mom has to do to survive in her home, especially when the storms come. 
We entered this storm with normal precautions.  I had bought enough food, candles, and water (though I am still wondering why I bought that).   Remember though, friends, I am a schoolteacher to the core.  I spent my time on Sunday making plans for a hurricane school day.  Yes, lesson plans.  I was greeted with surprising enthusiasm as we spent Monday morning learning much about hurricanes.   This cooperative learning set the tone for the rest of the day as we waited out the rain and wind that threatened outside. 
We had spent our first moments remembering how our God is more powerful than any wind, rain, or storm.  He is the one who allows the storm, and he has the power to stop it.  He has proven that he can cover the entire earth with water and that he could clear the water with wind.   Christ himself in the middle of a storm, being tossed around seemingly without hope, calmed the storm with a simple few words – Peace. Be still.  I needed that reminder. 
The rest of the morning circled around maps, facts, and hurricane tracking.  The littles enjoyed some simple coloring while the others worked.  It did not take much but somehow having  school this way was a refreshing diversion from the norm and not so norm outside. 
Now the challenge dug its heels into my home – how to keep seven kids occupied and pleasant for an unknown period of time.  Our electricity held out until late the first night.  The kids woke the next morning to an unusual quiet and darkness.  To me, it was a blessed silence.  Yet, that silence brought questions.  What to do without a TV, computer, or Wii.  Facetiously, I reminded them that there were many things to entertain them that did not involve electricity:  books, board games, Tinker Toys, Legos, Marble Works, trains, crayons.  They gave me that smirk that says, “Mom, I know you are right, but I really don’t want to hear that.”
Our power stayed off for forty hours.  That is not long in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider that we had a generator to keep food in the fridge and freezer from spoiling.  We enjoyed candle light in the evening along with a fire to keep at least the family room cozy.  Some of those candles illuminated the silly and scary faces of pumpkins carved the night before.  The big kids brought out the Risk game to challenge their dad.  Of course, he won, but they had fun trying.  The little kids were reminded of the many interesting ways that you can design Thomas train tracks. I got to finish a book (that alone is amazing).   
After the rains quieted and the winds subsided, I loaded up the double jogger and pushed the others out the door to take a walk with me around the neighborhood.  It was eerily quiet save for a few generators humming, doing their job.  We chatted with a few neighbors, dodged a few stubborn branches in our path, and ran the last block home as the leftover rain drops fell. 
A few trees found their demise in the wind and chose to take out a few power lines in the fall.  Yet, the kids and I could only thank God as we walked.  Many of the fallen debris could have landed causing extremely more damage, but it didn’t.  Yes, there were trees whose root system was exposed.  The hurricane was not innocent.  Many others in our state lost their homes, and sadly some lost their lives.  In it all God is good.
We had started Monday setting our hearts on our powerful God who controls the wind and the waves and has the ultimate say on when the storm starts, how long it stays, and when it ends.  We will not remember many of these moments of the storm.  I hope, though, that there are things we learned about God in the storm. 
I am glad to have my dishwasher, washer, and dryer in use again.  The kids did not take long to jump on the computer.  I wonder when the next time is that we will pull down the games out of choice rather than necessity.  The storm is over.  My house is in relative order.  There are many homes that are not.  Life goes on.  What will remain? 

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