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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Whispers (and Shouts) after Sandy

Rehoboth Beach, DE as Hurricane Sandy crashes
Hurricane Sandy's roar and bluster and howl have left and the full assessment of the damage is still being made, but people are talking - some in whispers - about the awesome power of this force of nature.

There's lots of flooding everywhere. We are still not in our home because the road leading to our street is flooded and impassable. We're hoping that, perhaps later today or first thing tomorrow morning, we'll be back in our own home, even though we are deeply grateful for the generous hospitality of our dear friend who has taken us in since Saturday night.

Folks here tend to be the rugged individual, pull yourself up by the bootstrap type. Lots of Republicans. We're the red part of the state. It gets decidedly blue north of the canal.

Even so, the buzz is all about Romney's comment about getting rid of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Not only did he think it should be eliminated and given to the states to manage, but he went a bit further:
“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.” Mr. Romney not only believes that states acting independently can handle the response to a vast East Coast storm better than Washington, but that profit-making companies can do an even better job. He said it was “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
What's "immoral", it seems to me, is setting up private agencies that make a profit on the disasters of others. You know. The way the prison industrial complex has been privatized. And "caring" for immigration detainees has also been privatized. Both make huge profits for the company and provide a tax revenue stream for the government.

Makes perfect sense. If you have ice in your veins and your heart is two sizes too small.

Even one of our neighbors - with a Romeny/Ryan sticker on his car - shook his head and said, "No, now that just ain't right." Indeed.

The one mercy of the storm has been that, for three blessed days, there has not been one single political campaign ad on television. It's been All-Hurricane-Sandy-All-The-Time.

I think the Hurricane also helped people get their priorities in order.  We're a nation of people who help other people in times of crisis.

So much of what we'll get from our diocesan news sources will be about damage done to church buildings. Prayers will be said in thanksgiving for our places of worship having been out of harm's way.  Thanks be to God, it will be said, as if God were some great Master Puppeteer in total control.

The real stories of real ministries will go untold.

Stories of neighbors taking in neighbors or friends providing hospitality for friends who were evacuated. Stories of people leaving the warmth and shelter of their homes to volunteer in shelters set up for people who were evacuated who don't have friends or relatives on high ground.

There are amazing stories that can't be told - because of HIPAA privacy regulations - about people who are confined to their beds with round the clock care who were evacuated to hospitals or extended care facilities. I can tell you, from listening to conversations on the other end of the cell phone, of the extensive efforts to coordinate transportation and health care.

There are countless numbers of social workers, nurses, nursing attendants, ambulance drivers, police and fire men/women who left the safety of their homes to be with frightened patients and family members until they were settled in their safe, new locations.

These are the real "unsung heroes" whose efforts put a human face on altruistic words like "compassion" and "courage", "kindness" and "going the extra mile".

These are the faces of Jesus - those in need of help and those who came to help. This is the Gospel, alive and living in the midst of the storm.

The roar and howls of Hurricane Sandy have left us with whispers of stories near-misses and escapes and everyday acts of the Incarnation and Resurrection.

After Sandy - 2:35 PM - October 30, 2012
We've just been told - just this red hot second -  that we can return to our home. The initial pictures reveal only minor damage. A few missing picket fences but our plants look okay.

We have electricity. We have heat. We even have cable TV, Wifi and phone service.

We're going home.

We'll be home before nightfall.

I can't adequately express my gratitude for the hospitality of our friend who took us in, gave us shelter, and has been more than generous and kind.

Jesus is, no doubt, very pleased with this servant. 

But, we're going home. Our wee cottage on the Quiet Marsh on the Big Water on Rehoboth Bay is safe and sound and so are we.

I'm not whispering that news. I'm shouting it from the rooftops.

Can you hear me?

We're going home!!!!!


Mary Beth said...

Thanks be to God!!

Susan Pederson said...

Wonderful news! And your home is dry inside? Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!!!!You are Blessed, you and your Ms. Conroy. Blessed for the work thast you do. Blessed for the lives you touch, blessed for the people you are!
Thank you for blessing us!

Bill Lambert said... I said at Alpha; mankind is an inherently stupid lot...two steps forward, one step back. But there are those times when mankinds' humanity sneaks out; When we stop looking at the color of someones skin, or, where their from or their party affiliation. We saw it in Sudan when folks got tired of waring and chased the bad guys out, however temporarily. It's not the government. It's the Holy Spirit in regular people doing extraordinary things.

Brian R said...

So glad. When I saw damage to Rehoboth mentioned on news in NZ I was worried. I mean I had never heard of it before and have trouble spelling it. At least it was good to know you had moved to higher ground.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mary Beth - I'll shout my amen to that.

JCF said...

TBTG you and your home are safe!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Susan - We are blessed to be a blessing. We say that, right? This is what it means. We are in our home now. Inside is nice and dry. Heat is coming up. It's loverly.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Bill - It's the Holy Spirit in ordinary lives that help us do extraordinary things. Like reaching out to help others. Amazing grace.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Brian - The word is that Rehoboth was the name David gave to his palace on the side of the hill overlooking the city of Jerusalem. He kept adding to it as he added wives and children and slaves and soldiers to his compound. Rehoboth means "room for one more".

Thanks for your prayers from NZ. You may not have been able to pronounce it but your prayers were heard.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord! Your house id fine.
And praise the Lord for the break in polotical advertisemets. I was interested in seeing how both candidates acted in this natural disaster. Obama stayed in his office and offered help to the states. Gov Christie even sang his thanks to Obama. Romney asked people to be a good neighbor and give if they could. At least for a while both parties held Americans before politics. Hooray!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Elizabeth, I'm so happy for you and Ms C. I rejoice with you that you are going home. If you're already home, then I rejoice again.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Maria - For the life of me, I'll never understand how anyone - but especially a woman - could vote for Romney/Ryan. I just hope what those people have been telling pollsters is very different from how they vote next Tuesday.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mimi - We are home. No heat. Apparently the water came up to the heater/ac outside and the pilot light is off. Or, something. The heater repair guy is here now. It's not bad with a sweater on, actually. And, if this is the worse it gets, we still count ourselves blessed.

My heart breaks for those who have lost homes and cars and boats and family members. I can't even begin to fathom it.

Pat Klemme said...

Relief and gratitude that you, Ms. Conroy and the Pups are home safely.
And thanks be to a God who imparts hope and strength to those who need it, whether rescuers or rescuees. Prayers continue.
Pat K

Terri said...

I was astonished that the remnants of Sandy blew through Dearborn, Michigan last night and today. 50 mile per hour winds, howling, and rain. Lots of people here without power....

glad you and yours are okay. Praying for those who sustained the most damage and the greatest losses...

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Thanks Pat. Prayers are what got us through. I'm convinced.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Terri - Friends in Canada said they had incredibly strong winds. This was an amazing storm which has claimed 40 lives. It would have claimed three times that had we not been prepared.

Kirkepiscatoid said...

Woo Hoo! Thanks be to God! Tell Mr. Wonderful (aka Theo) that I'm sure he was very brave.

As for a certain candidate's comments, I think if he's fool enough to say such things in the middle of a hurricane, well...let him. People who were in the middle of it will not exactly be thrilled.

MarkBrunson said...

Praise God!

JCF said...

Have you heard from your former parish in Newark? (more prayers)

Donna said...

SO glad you got home and arrived to find minimal damage...respite from political ads sounds like an unexpected gift from the storm. Wish those of us in the Midwest had experienced the same thing!

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Kirke - What I don't understand is why this election is so close. I understand Hurricane Sandy better.

Theo has hurt his leg, jumping off the couch at Anita's home. We'll give it another day and then take him to the Vet if it doesn't clear up.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Mark - Amen.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

JCF - St. Barnabas, Newark? I heard the bishop is going to close them down. No surprise. There are about 10 people left, I think. "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Donna - I am deeply, deeply grateful.

JCF said...

I was referring to your last parish, before you retired (I thought it was called St Paul's, but I could definitely be wrong). I thought it had a thriving youth program (you blogged of being on retreat w/ them?), so I don't think it is St Barnabas.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Ah, you tripped me up when you said Newark. St Paul's Chatham. They seem to be doing just fine, as I knew they would. I just read where they are out of electricity and are expected to continue to be without power for the next 7-10 days. All schools in Chatham are closed for the rest of the week.