(This is the second post of a two-part series. Read part I of Andrea’s story here.)
Once we reached the mountains, evacuation felt guiltily like a vacation. Friends posted on social media from Legoland, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches. It was a forced downtime that was unexpected but much needed. We were privileged to have a safe place to evacuate.
There was a span of time as the storm looked like it would take a direct hit on my husband’s place of work. We worried if he would have a job once we came home, but remembered we are privileged to have savings and other resources. We thought of those who live paycheck to paycheck. Those who couldn’t afford a hotel room, who were staying home with their children or sleeping on the floor of a shelter. Those who were throwing away a refrigerator full of food that had spoiled, but might not have anything else to eat. Those who had put all of their savings and future into a business that might not recover after the storm.
So many people are affected by storms. The ripple effect can take years to recover from. It is hard for my 4 and 7 year old to know how privileged they are that we have a home to evacuate to that is warm and safe.
Prayer for the Poor and the Neglected, Book of Common Prayer, pg. 826
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
I want my children to appreciate what we have, then be able to give back in a greater way. We did that that Sunday in one of the ways we do best. Church!
We realized that a number of refugees from Episcopal Churches were in an hour radius of each other. I texted a priest friend and said let’s find a way to do church together this Sunday. He rallied the troops and sixteen of us from four congregations joined at the top of a mountain to share communion together at the table. My children shared in the sacraments with friends and strangers together. Some had heard that their homes were okay, some knew they were coming back to major damage, and some were still waiting for news. Together we reflected on our faith and how it was stronger for many of us in this time of trial. We remembered that God is in the midst of this.
Matthew 28:16-20 The Great Commission (NRSV)
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
When we got home, my children helped clean up the branches in our yard. They watched as we got the chain saw out and took down the tree that fell. We helped at a family member’s house that was flooded. And we assisted neighbors in their clean-up efforts. Talking about helping others is great. Showing them that this is how we take care of each other is a lesson that they will remember.
After things started getting back to normal, my son asked if we could get Sonic to celebrate being okay after the hurricane. (Um yeah!!!) On the way we named other things to celebrate. We were naming our blessings – a sunny sky, a house that is still standing, family, dogs, and a standing stop sign (it got much sillier at this point). It was a good reminder, as we continue to think about and pray for those who were and are being affected by this storm and all other natural disasters, that there is still much to be thankful for after devastation.
This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Have these stories of faith in the midst of trial helped provide perspective for you during this election week?