It’s a question Randy and I ask each other most mornings. For a number of reasons, we often have difficulty sleeping well the whole night through. It’s a wonderful thing, mornings when we both wake up able to say we slept well.
Last week we survived Hurricane Irma. It was a challenging week leading up to her arrival and another challenging week after she did her worst and moved on. There were some nights we didn’t sleep well. Mostly because without power it was pushing 90 degrees in the house day and night. Too hot to sleep.
The days leading up to the arrival of Irma were filled with hard work. The workers were hot and tired but kept on with the task, knowing we were running out of time to prepare. We were all grateful to fall into bed each night.
It was a sobering sight for us relatively new northern transplants to witness the preparations happening around us. When we went out to get our final supplies we saw things we’d never seen before. Many boarded up homes and businesses that had taken necessary measures to protect their belongings.
As the wind began to pick up we could feel the seriousness of the decision we’d made to stay. We were completely leaning on God’s mercy now. There was nothing else we could do but wait.
The clouds rolled in and the winds blew and the rains beat against the house but we couldn’t see any of it as darkness settled in and we sat behind boarded-up windows. We prayed for our safety as well as our neighbors and many others all over the state. Around midnight the power went out and the noises outside became loud and unrelenting. After about an hour of this, we did the unthinkable.
We went to bed. Most of us slept through the storm. We woke to an eerie quiet. Our first glimpse of the aftermath was in the early morning just after dawn. Debris everywhere, downed trees, and then the sound of generators starting up all around us and sirens that were continuous for hours.
The days after the storm we still had much to do but the nights were not as restoring as they had been the previous week. While we were thankful to be alive and that we experienced very little damage, we were growing weary of the challenges we dealt with daily. In a word, we really are…spoiled. It was a struggle to figure out how to feed all of us without power. We ate a lot of cold sandwiches and even some cold Chef Boyardee. We grilled hot dogs and even made a pot of chili on the grill. It was not what we were used to but we made it work.
We pulled together as a family and I was so proud of my boys who have become men and their wives who worked for hours to prepare this home and the supplies we needed to make it through. We took cold showers and washed laundry in 5-gallon buckets. We spent a lot of time outside where we could at least catch a little bit of a breeze. And at night we stood on the patio and marveled at the beauty of the heavens with no electric lights to interfere.
When the power finally came back on Friday night, almost 5 full days after it went out, we heard a cheerful cry go up from all over the house. Loud “hallelujahs” were shouted without reserve. We had made it through. Praise be to God!
In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8 (ESV)