Monday, May 2, 2011

In Darkness and Light

The news has been plastered with horrific stories from the storms. But there have also been amazing stories of people helping each other, stories of  amazing grace. Strangers helping strangers. Neighbors helping neighbors. "I need to get your phone number," said one of my co-workers as we went back to work today. "I had no way to reach you." "Me, too," I said. I now have several more phone numbers saved in my cell phone. I also answered every call, even from phone numbers that I didn't recognize, because people were borrowing phones from strangers to make phone calls.

With no power, neighbors are cooking food and sharing their meals cooked on a charcoal or gas grill. My daughter made gourmet burgers and roasted potatoes wrapped in foil on the first night without lights. It was delicious. One co-worker heated water on the grill to wash the baby bottles. The son of a friend used a rain barrel and solar power and improvised an outdoor shower with warm water. My cousin brought a generator, gas grill, supplies and enough gas for several weeks, from her home in Tennessee to my sister's house. The fire department helped my friend, who is handicapped, and opened her garage door. One middle-aged man that I met told me that his neighbor used his chain saw and cut down the tree that landed on his roof, single-handedly, all out of neighborliness. My sister, who is in animal rescue, and my niece, took cat and dog food to the devastated regions. My daughter donated children's clothing and several packs of diapers, diapers that she had been saving for her baby. "I can always buy more," she said.

People, with few exceptions, have been unbelievably polite. With no traffic lights, we have had to follow the 4-way stop rule. Neighbors who have never talked to one another now know each other's first name. One lady realized that her neighbors weren't actually "vampires" and are actually nice people. Everyone has a heart of gratitude and feels truly blessed.

Daylight is no longer taken for granted. You have to make the most of it. Isn't this what our ancestors did?
And if you work hard and play hard, you'll be ready for bed not long after dark.

Being in the dark has taught us all to never take anything for granted, especially our loved ones. I can live without my hot water for a few days. I can live without computer access or my cell phone. I can even live without my favorite television shows. The roof can be repaired, a new tree can be planted, a house rebuilt, food and clothing replaced, but the ones we love are what matters most.


Janet, said...

Ii is good that it is bringing out the best in people. I am so glad that you and your family are safe.

lil red hen said...

When everything is going well, we take so much for granted don't we. God bless you and your family.