BATTENIN' DOWN THE HATCHES!
For everyone who lives on the East Coast, you've probably already been living this theme. Hurricane Sandy is now about two hours away from landfall on the Jersey Shore and because it's such a huge storm, many of us are keeping an eye on her wild ways! I think I heard I heard one of the many weather persons chiming in state that Sandy is 1000 miles wide and 1500 miles long!! That's ALOT of storm!!
So while we've been following the sound advice of stocking up in case of power outages, you know, having all the needed candles and flashlights and non perishable food (which includes chocolate chip cookies and Pop Tarts of course!!) I couldn't help but remember storm stories from the past. Hopefully a little story telling will take everyone's mind off of Sandy, even just for a bit. : )
When I was a CIT at Camp Sandy Cove in North East MD, Hurricane Agnes decided to visit camp. Fortunately, it was still Training Week so the campers hadn't arrived yet. And a storm at camp just feels like an adventure. Plus when you're fifteen years old and don't have to worry about your home and your family, and you're at camp so you're not plastered in front of the weather channel 24/7, it's just not quite as ominous. Maybe ignorance IS bliss. Anyway, our little band of counselor wanna be's returned to our cabin after waiting out part of the storm in the Dining Hall (again, if I remember correctly) and found a huge tree had fallen right across the front steps of our cabin! Our empty cabin. Pshew!! Had it been the tree just a few feet to the right of it, that one would have fallen directly across my bunk. Again, it was empty but still. Pshew!! These storms have a way of reminding us that it's not a coincidence that the words Almighty and God go hand in hand. We relocated to Ichthus, the cabin full of bunks for counselors on their day off and had a grand old time. Seems there was something about a racoon while we were there, but that's part of the story I've forgotten somehow. Hey, c'mon, it was a long time ago! : )
Then there was the Hurricane that struck the Harrisburg area while I was in college. Our class had braved the winds and rain to settle in for one of everyone's not so favorite Gen Ed classes - and then when we were dismissed, we were told classes were cancelled for the rest of the day because of flooding concerns. We gleefully skipped on down to the campus branch of the "Minnemingo" and were amazed at how much it had already overflown its banks. Of course, once again, life was still an adventure so I started pretending we were on a field trip and was announcing "OK, boys and girls, stay with your buddy and don't lose your bag lunch!" Suddenly I saw a large black umbrella turn around toward me and who was beneath it but my brand new professor/boss who I was just beginning to work for as his secretary. The look on his face was a cross between "who in the world is treating this like a field trip for children and oh my, look at this, it's my new student secreatary!!" He did get just the beginning of a slight grin so I knew all was well, but I'm sure he was also wondering what in the world he was getting into having the likes of someone like me handling his tests and papers and book he was writing!! Fortunately, Dr. Wittlinger was a kind and gracious man to work for - even on days when I lost my buddy or my bag lunch . . .
The other adventure that pops into my mind when storm flooding comes up is the time my dear roommate (when we were both teaching at Faith Academy in the Philippines), Beth, was leaving to return home to the States. We'd been up most of the night getting her packed, sorting what she would take home, what she would bequeath to me, what we'd pass on to others and the always nagging pile of justwhatintheworldshouldwedowiththisstuff? It had been raining for days, as it is apt to do during the beginning of the rainy season in June and we woke up the next morning to water lapping at our door. By the time we were to head to the airport, it was thigh high in the street and we were truly wondering how in the world we'd ever get to the airport! But our chauffeur, good friend Steve, drove in as far as he could, waded in the rest of the way and we waded back out with Beth's suitcases perched atop our heads! Yes, another adventure although as I recall our tearful goodbyes added to the wetness of the day!
And now we wait for Sandy to bring her winds and wrath and wetness. Ugh! Fortunately we've all had lots of lead time to prepare but it just seems like there's going to be a ton of damage and loss when she's done passing through. I have to admit, as many storms as I've weathered, and adventures I've experienced, this one has me a bit concerned. We're home, we're hunkered down, we're as prepared as we can be - but there's definitely a need to trust that we will be taken care of, that Almighty God does indeed both command the winds and care for every detail of concern in my heart. I've turned to Psalm 91 once again. It was the Psalm we memorized when out on the Trail with the next generation of counselor wanna be's and I recently rememorized it with one of those wanna be's I've been delighted to reconnect with. It's just one of those go to Psalms that is quite fitting to claim at such a time as this.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of my Lord, He is my refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust.
Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His feathers, under His wings you will find refuge, His faithfulness will be your
shield and your rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling, even the Lord who is my refuge,
no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways
They will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot upon a stone.
(there's another story there, but I'll save that for another time!!)
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra, your will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Because he loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue him
I will protect him for he ackowledges My Name
He will call upon Me and I will answer him
I will deliver him and honor him
With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.
And as the power surges even as I type, may Almighty God keep disaster far from all our tents during this storm as we trust Him to be our refuge and our fortress!