photo courtesy of FoxNews.com
1,000 miles from Galveston, TX, the primary location where the effects of Hurricane Ike have been felt, this massive storm unexpectedly made its presence known when it collided with another storm system. I look at the image above of Galveston, look at the damage our city here has suffered, and all I can do is thank the Lord. After what we have witnessed here in Louisville since Sunday, I absolutely cannot imagine the horror of hunkering down in the face of even more ominous winds. We were spared much, but also reminded of both the Lord's provision and His sovereign power over the greatest of storms.
~Pictures below were taken yesterday at our complex, the first one from a news source and the others from my camera~
Less than an hour after arriving home from church on Sunday afternoon, the power was out and we had the weather radio tuned in to receive any updates they could offer. The abrupt arrival of the storm sent us into a flurry of wondering what we were going to do, planning on how to salvage our food, all the while trying our best not to worry or panic. As the next couple of hours creeped by, we began hearing the specific details of what was taking place outside beyond the safety of our four walls. Our unexpecting city sustained 70mph winds for an hour straight, at times gusting up to 80mph, against the backdrop of a clear blue sky with not a drop of rain. People began calling in with the reports of downed trees and power lines, and by around 5:00pm they had the approximate total - 280,000 people in Louisville were without power. As the late afternoon wore on, my tendency toward worry and impatience continued to be tested...
Local officials were asking all residents to stay put unless an emergency called for getting out on the roads. We heeded the warning, but the question lingered as to how long the power would be out and what we should do with our newly-stocked refridgerator. We decided to brave the dark, debris-covered roads in search of ice. You don't realize just how crucial the glow of traffic lights are until you don't have them. The busiest of streets in Louisville had no lights, so it felt as if every vehicle was at one another's mercy in order to see. We spent the rest of the evening after arriving home getting our ice chest and freezer filled with as much ice as would fit in order to preserve whatever we could. In the background, long after the sun had set, we heard the radion station give the latest update -- it could take up to a week for residents to have power restored... As my husband and I were settling down on the couches for what we hoped would be a restful night's sleep (our upstairs gets very stuffy without any air conditioning), our minds were still reeling over the "what if" questions. Then, at 3:00 in the morning, we were ripped from our sleep from the lamps and TV coming back on. The relief at the light and sound were enough to move me to tears.
I didn't find out until coming in for work yesterday morning that we are the only ones I know of who lost power and had it restored. Everyone else I have spoken with who lost power on Sunday are still without. I have heard countless conversations about families staying with other families, creative ideas on how to preserve food, and one of our friends invited us for dinner last night as he was cooking over his dutch ovens what would otherwise spoil. All but two of the traffic lights I drive through while coming to work are still out, and the scenes of trees laying in yards and on roofs is hard to take in. We have been completely overwhelmed the past 48 hours at the magnitude of a storm that first made landfall 1,000 miles from here. Who would have anticipated winds of such a level turning our city upside down? In an instant we were completely powerless with no answer as to when things would return to normalcy. I couldn't help but think of those on the Gulf coast, trying to imagine what damage those residents have sustained in comparison to what we have. I have also thought about the families in Louisville who are still without power, those with children to care for, and wondering how they are doing with this incredible weight that has been placed on their shoulders.
We are some of the few I know who had the ability to brew coffee this morning. I was able to prepare for work this morning with the lights in the bathroom, rather than by dim candlelight. I am able to write this morning because the IT department at my company worked around the clock to ensure that our systems would be restored. We are some of the few who aren't frantically lined up at grocery stores wondering what kinds of food to buy over the next few days or how to preserve the fresh food bought just days prior to the storm. My mind has been reeling with such thoughts since Sunday, and all of this under the comfort of the Lord's sovereignty. He is good and He is near even when all seems lost. He displayed a measure of grace to us in that our power was unexpectedly restored much earlier than that of countless others, and showed His magnificent power over this storm that rocked even us who are twenty hours inland from the coast. I am overwhelmed by how much He has afforded us, and moved by the outpouring of service and support to those still in need.
Lessons learned? Though small and simple as these lessons may sound, we have been shown how quickly the unexpected can occur. We have been shown just how fortunate we truly are, and the utter waste of even the most minor of complaints. We have also learned the value of simple steps to helping others, whether delivering any ice we may have on hand in order that a friend not lose food, or telling a manager at one of the many inundated restaurants in town, "Hey, you're doing a good job." Always have your ears and eyes open to even the smallest ways in which you can help others with the resources you have been afforded. These lessons do often come through such tests and trials, and if that is what the Lord ordained, then we gladly and humbly welcome what He has taught and revealed to us.
"When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer." ~ Corrie ten Boom