Monday, September 06, 2004


We are now getting the northeastern edge of tropical storm Francis here in middle Georgia, in fact it started raining about 1:30 to 2:am this morning. There is nothing I have experienced quite like an incoming tropical storm. The incredible damage that one of these storms not withstanding; the air is fresh and clear the rain pure, you can almost feel the earth drinking up and cleansing itself.

I am aware of the dire interruption in mens lives but we as men can plan for it. To people that wish that there were no Hurricanes should consider that without them some of the southeast and south would be dry-even desert. They are life to us. So I have a recommendation to the people who live on the coast. Concrete houses. I wouldn't take away the joy of living on the beaches for any reason but if you afford the house you should afford the extra expense of hardening your homes to withstand the wind and the flooding. Please.

One other item I want to bring up is that these storms remind men that God is in control. It is one of those things that we cannot regulate. One of the stressors that literally strips away all other cares and reminds us what is important. Our personal friendship and relationship with the Patriarch of our family. God.

It is indeed unfortunate that we have to have these awesome natural events like tornadoes and earthquakes or volcanoes or in the future a meteor to make us focus on what is important.

On the chance that anyone would think that I have not had my own life inconvenienced by one of these meteorological giants; I have.

In 1994, a storm named Andrew, after devastating the pan-handle of Florida became occluded over central Georgia and wandered around between Macon and Atlanta for 3 days dropping 8 inches in Warner Robins and up to 24 inches in other places flooding nearly every city and cutting every road. My new home town became literally an island. No one could get in and no one out, no air traffic-no helicopters.

At that time I lived in an apartment complex on the first floor by a man made lake. It had for two weeks prior to this storm, rained constantly and the ground was already saturated. We watched with trepidation the news as up stream of us dam after dam burst and sent torrents of water our direction . After two days I began to marvel that our lake appeared to be holding it's own, that is until 9 am. I noticed that the lake had come up about 1 foot. I made up my mind to check it more frequently and 20 minutes later it had risen 4 more feet and I sounded the alarm to my children; Jez and Jannell, to grab a suitcase and pack some clothes, that we were getting out of there. I called work and told them that I would be late that, I was moving my kids to higher ground. I called my wife Michele and her grandmother and made arrangements to stay there temporarily. I then went on to work and gathered up all the 5 gallon pales I could find, returned to my apartment and put all of our belongings that I could up; in a vain effort I thought, that they might be spared. I returned to work and hoped. That evening I acquired a comp. Room from work and moved my family into it . My wife got worried about our pets and insisted that we make a trip out to the apartment to get our pets and some more clothing. I was reluctant; I figured that by now the lake had taken our home. We drove out but could not get all the way there. A part of the runoff system crossed the drive and the road was completely inundated by a tremendous wash. A police officer was stationed there and would not let us drive across. My wife was frantic for the pets. So we walked across with me in the lead and each of us holding the hands of the one behind us. The water was calf deep pushing against us as I tested the road inch by inch in a terrible fear that it was washed out. To my surprise it was not and we were across safely. When we reached our building the water was now at the slab it was built on and only about 2 inches from going over. The rains kept coming. We hurriedly gathered up what we could in garbage bags locked the door behind us and took off reaching once again the torrent of water cascading down the hill and across the road. Again I lead us across feeling my way as we went. Again by God the road was not washed out. But the Law officer made it plain over his loud speaker that there would be no more crossing the road because it was too dangerous.

We slept that night and arrose the next day, still no let up in the rain, still wondering if we had a home or if it was flooded. I couldn't help my curiosity and drove down to the complex to see if I could find out anything, at 8 am the water had miraculously not enter our place. I was praying that the dam would break so the water in the lake would go down, not thinking of course that the people down stream would get flooded. Finally, at 10 am we heard the news on the radio that the small dam that held back our lake had burst and they were sending warnings down stream to get out of the way of a new rush of water. We returned home to find that by the blessings of God the water had not entered our house. Others at the complex were not so fortunate. They had been flooded out and lost pretty much everything.

Yet in those moments I remember telling my boss that I liked the storm because it reminds people that there is always something bigger than themselves and that we should always be mindful of, has something else in store for us than our meager minds can conceive.

I am thankful for the storm that keeps my feet grounded in truth and recogs in the evil that they are not in control but something greater than they. The storms does terrible damage to our personal possesions but leaves us with a renewed spirit. A new start. A new spirit of giving and helping each other. A new compassion for others. A better understanding of ourselves and our God that we should not place our lives in our personal possesions or our personal pleasure but in the hands of God. A new understanding that God spares us but the things we have will be left behind forever.

We need the storm not only for the rain but for our souls as well.

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