The last few days, to say the least, were pretty intense here in Washington, D.C. Everyone was glued to their television sets all week watching as Hurricane Sandy prepared to slam the East Coast and then collide with a cold front to create a “superstorm.” Much like during Hurricane Irene last year, grocery store shelves were pretty bare within a couple of days.
The storm was set to hit on Sunday evening, October 28, 2012. As we gathered with our Sunday School class and attended worship on Sunday morning, our pastor spoke about praying for those affected by the storm (including ourselves and our neighbors) and how the Lord can give peace and calm even when hurricanes approach. Those were comforting words to remember as the storm crept closer.
After church we were scheduled to visit our friends Ana and Henry, whose new baby had been baptized that morning, and to celebrate the special occasion with them. The conversation centered on the baby, of course, and how excited everyone was to meet him, and how everyone was feeling about the hurricane. Then everyone left for their respective homes to hunker down and do another inventory of storm-related supplies.
Leon and I could not leave the house on Monday or Tuesday, as the winds were dangerously uprooting entire trees and throwing things around, not to mention the blinding rain that we could see outside of our window. The lights flickered on and off throughout the days, but thankfully we did not lose power completely. We were able to cook and keep the news on to stay apprised of new developments. It was surreal to see pictures of areas just a couple of miles from our condo that were flooded. Not to mention that we had just been to New York City the previous weekend, and streets on which we had strolled along enjoying beautiful fall weather were now totally submerged.
I was thankful to be safe and dry, but I felt heavy hearted for those who lost their homes or even loved ones during the hurricane. Leon and I were also surprised to see an unexpected blessing come out of the hurricane for us. It turned out that our plumbing had some issues which we did not know about until we had to fill the bathtub with water to prepare for the storm. Apparently, there had been a slow leak into the downstairs condo which had gone undetected until the bathtub was filled and enough water leaked downstairs to make the problem apparent. We had plumbers at our house all Tuesday afternoon and the problem is now hopefully fixed. The plumbers estimated that if we had not filled the tub for the hurricane, it might have taken months for the problem to reveal itself. It sounds corny, but that situation reminded me that sometimes difficulties (in this case a hurricane) can forge unanticipated blessings.
This morning, Halloween, traffic was as congested in D.C. as always, and Leon and I slowly made our way into the city to get back to work. There was an eeriness to the air, however, and the sky was still a weird gray color. Trees that had been uprooted were reclining in the medians, and the Potomac River looked swollen and murky. The mood was certainly appropriate for Halloween (although it’s uncertain right now how much trick-or-treating D.C. children will be able to do this evening), but we are definitely thankful that the storm has passed.