Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good – Psalms 118:1
Mother Nature can be a beast. We learned this after a severe, freak storm hit us last Friday, downing trees and knocking out our power. More storms followed, slowing down the restoration in our area. It seemed we had been forgotten, but by the grace of God we made it through.
After seven and a half days without power, here is what I learned:
Day 1: How do people cope during major hurricanes (Katrina), massive tornadoes (Joplin, MO), etc.? Callie and I attempted to go shopping on Saturday to avoid the heat at home (it was a balmy 89 degrees in my house) and to basically have something to do. The shelves in the stores were already empty where gallon jugs of water should have been. Credit card machines were not working, making it difficult for people to purchase anything, including food, unless you had cash. Who carries cash anymore? Not the poor lady at Target with two screaming kids and a cart full of things to get her through the outage. She was forced to leave her things and go to the ATM. I have even more sympathy now for those people in the types of disasters mentioned above. God bless them.
Day 2: Greg’s mom and step-dad are very generous people. I knew this already, but they were particularly generous in the coming days with food, beds, fresh towels and showers. We were very grateful to have somewhere to stay for four nights and the added bonus of some bonding time. God blessed us.
Day 3: Sometimes things work out just right despite the odds. We had planned a trip to Carowinds in Charlotte for Monday and had made reservations to spend the night in a hotel. A much needed break and a hotel room were just the ticket. We had AC, beds, a bathroom, fresh towels and free breakfast without worrying about bothering anyone.
Day 4: I loathe the Laundromat. Is there a stronger word than loathe? If so, I would use it. It was 96 outside and 96 inside. It took what seemed like an eternity to dry the clothes. The power went out while I was there. Thankfully I was almost finished. Then a storm brewed as I loaded the car. We made it home safely though and had clean clothes. We also were able to fill jugs of water from the river (thankful to live close to the river!) to flush toilets. God provided again despite my grumblings.
Day 5: Greg will do whatever he can to make us happy. I admit my patience at this point had run thin. I just wanted some normalcy and it didn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. I still have a lot of work to do in the “be patient” department. We managed to borrow a generator and air conditioner window unit and sleep at home in our own beds. I am so thankful for a man who takes care of us. He is wonderful. God bless him.
Day 6: Back to work for me. I learned it IS possible to get ready for work with a generator-powered flat iron and a Coleman lantern. We also ended up with an extra AC unit (it wouldn’t fit in our bedroom window). I tried to pass it along to someone who needed it but everyone I asked didn’t have a generator to power it. I tried.
Day 7: At this point, I learned to just roll with it. Praying for those white trucks to come along and for God to give them the abilities they needed (in the miserable heat) to restore our power. Someone left us a case of bottled water on our doorstep. People were still being generous despite everything that was going on.
Day 8: The half day! Our power was restored before noon. How grateful we were. We were all frustrated with the slow efforts at some point but unless you were out there working for AEP, then you don’t know how difficult it was. It would have been easy to blame the workers. I even heard that their trucks were egged. But I’m sure they were doing the best they could against the odds and I salute them for their hard work.
The biggest lesson learned is we should never take anything for granted. Things such as clean, running water, electric heat or air conditioning, indoor plumbing, refrigerated food and ovens are luxuries to a lot of people in other countries and some of these things would be considered luxuries for people in our own country. When they are taken away from us for a length of time we can see this with a new perspective. It could have been worse. We kept our house and only lost our power. We lost our power, but kept our faith (even in moments of grumbling). God provides. He truly does.