In the Dark
Thanks be to God, none of the trees that broke or fell near our house did any real damage to the house itself. A huge pine tree in a neighbor's yard fell and busted out the back wall of our garden shed as well as banging up the neighbor's fence and garage roof, but those are easily fixed by people who know how to do that sort of thing. Other than that, we only suffered a 24-hour power outage and the yard is littered with pieces of the offending pine. Driving around the neighborhood yesterday, I saw much much worse, and that was only the parts I could see; some streets were blocked by the police or the power company so that workers could get in to start removing and cutting up the trees and reattaching the power lines. The neighborhood was buzzing with the sound of chain saws and news helicopters flying overhead, beeping with the sound of large vehicles backing up, wailing with the sound of sirens as police cars and fire trucks raced through the streets to help people get out of their disasters. Today the buzzing continues, mostly chain saws and leaf blowers, and some folks are still without power as crews untangle lines and limbs and debris. I saw a group of the power company's trucks parked near the local Starbucks early this morning; getting their own juice after a long night's work. Even though the people weren't in the trucks, I waved and said thank you as I drove by.
It was a slight pain to be without power - I realized how much I depend on the internet and was very excited to find that I could pick up somebody's wireless signal from one spot upstairs with my battery powered laptop - but it was just a little pain. Just inconvenient. The workers outside were struggling to get the streets cleared and the power back up, pulling long shifts while I stayed warm in my house. People every day are living in horrible conditions, even in our own country, even here in Atlanta, doing without basic necessities. I had a fairly low-key evening with candles and a glass of wine, entertaining myself by playing the piano after it was too dark to read. I had not only running water but also hot water thanks to the gas water heater. Meanwhile all over town homeless folks were wrapping themselves in newspaper or rugs or plastic bags to bed down under the interstate bridges.
And so today I am grateful for what I have and especially grateful to those people I don't even know who spend their time and effort on my behalf. I remember our lovely Compline prayer from the BCP:
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other's toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP 134)
May we never forget that our common life depends upon each other's toil.