This weekend has been such a mix of experiences and emotions. Good times with family that we hadn’t seen in two years brought many smiles and laughter. However, nature’s fury sent us all into survival mode which brought a bit of anxiety into the mix. January is maybe not the best time of year for visiting the Midwest. : )
At first the experience was kind of invigorating, even with the battle against worry. This weekend’s ice storm was nothing if it wasn’t interesting. : ) Friday night spent in Springfield brought many audio and visual experiences: the cracking of tree limbs, the tinkling of the ice as it shatters upon impact, the popping of electricity as cables break and the sparks that flew when that happened. Then there was the strange blue flashes of light on the horizon as transformer after transformer blew…and the darkness that followed. Even in the flashes of fear that coursed through my body when larger limbs hit the roof and sent us scattering for cover, there was a strange excitement present. Funny what a rush of adrenaline can do to ya! : ) Even with the adrenaline rush, though, worry tried to sneak it’s way into a place of prominence in my mind. I prayed as we tried to stay warm while the icy rain continued to fall and the limbs gave way under the immense load, crashing all around us.
Saturday brought comfort with the daylight and roads that were still not iced over. Driving around Springfield, trying to find someplace that still had electricity and was serving breakfast was an interesting experience as well. My camera got a workout as I took picture after picture of the devastation surrounding us. I was overwhelmed at what looked like the after-effects of a tornado or hurricane…tree limbs and downed power lines scattered the streets. Eventually I stopped recording the sights as so many emotions overwhelmed my senses. I felt numb and, at the same time, my heart felt raw at the mix of so much hitting me at once. I wanted to cry at the loss of all those beautiful trees, many old ones that had weathered many other storms in their lifetime. My heart felt sorrow as we passed a man walking with his belongings on his back and in the duffle he carried as he tried to keep his balance on the icy sidewalk. He was talking to himself but not making sense…his head uncovered and unprotected as the icy rain continued to fall. I wished I had a hat to give him but we hadn’t brought any with us. I felt worry for all those who had no heat and no one to look after them. I felt powerless to help them. I am one who feels most comfortable when all the basics are met and there is extra to share. Being away from my own home and supplies made me a bit jittery. But not all the feelings were negative. I was happy that, no matter what came, we were together as family. I was thankful for the protection from the danger of falling limbs and falling temps throughout the night. I was thankful for a vehicle to get to where we could get more supplies and the provision of protection from the rain.
We were able to find some patches of the city that still had power so we did get some food in us and some shopping done. Then we packed up our gear and headed back to Lebanon a little earlier than originally planned, due to the weather. We were glad to find lights on at the folks’ house. We had only been home long enough to get dinner and pay some bills online before the power went off there as well. It was another long night of chills as the icy temps found their way inside with no heat to keep it at bay. No hot water also meant a second day without a shower. : ( We did get news that Noel & Michelle’s power had come back on so we all packed up and went over there to clean up before heading into town to have dinner together to celebrate a birthday (one that we won’t soon forget, I imagine). We stopped by Walmart on the way home to pick up some thermal underwear for our family. I felt strongly that they would be needed as the temps were supposed to fall sharply and our journey home having so many uncertainties as far as weather conditions were concerned. As we were gathering our supplies, the lights began flickering even there so there was an extra urgency to get finished and get back home again. When we arrived back at Noel & Michelle’s, they had no lights and more trees down. Even as we were parking a large tree limb fell as we passed it. We got inside and decided we’d better get back to Mom & Dad’s because if the situation gets worse it’d be better to be stuck at the house all together closer to town. Also, Monday was Pop’s birthday and he’d already gone home to check on the pets. The drive out to Michelle’s and back was filled with raw emotion for me. I struggled to keep the tears from streaming as I saw more and more limbs down (it looked like a war zone) and the roads were getting slick in some spots. This situation was far from over and the uncertainty of what was coming next caused fear to begin a new wave of assault on my heart. I was very thankful for the Christian music that played on the radio as each song were words I needed to hear, bringing my focus back on the One who holds my future in His hands. Another moment of peace that surpasses understanding found it’s way back to me. : )
Sometimes I am confuse myself when I feel so fragile in so many areas and so strong in others. I just don’t get it.
The electricity was off again when we got there and everyone was a bit disappointed that we would be missing the season premiere of 24. : ) However, we were also mindful of the fact that we had been blessed that, so far, we still had plenty of candles, food, water, and the house was still inhabitable…something that not everyone in this region could enjoy. We also worried about Sean and his family still in Springfield, unsure of their situation. As we were finishing the last of bringing in our stuff from the van, the lights popped back on and we all cheered! What a wonderful thing it is…this simple thing called heat. : )
*side note* It was also a bit of icing on the cake for us 24 fans to be able to watch the second hour of the premiere. ; )
Going outside and standing to just listen is still a surreal experience for me. Closing my eyes and hearing all the creaking and shattering near and far, it’s not hard to envision a giant monster tromping along, leaving a path of destruction behind it. Ice is so beautiful and yet such a slow, silent destroyer.
Even as the destruction slowly works its way around us and our confidence is lost in the things we have always taken for granted (electricity, heat, phone service connecting us to the outside world, etc.), there is still a peace underneath all these waves of emotions. One thing I can always trust is that my God is always there, always watching, always faithful to take care of all my needs…and that is what keeps me sane in a world full of craziness. : )