I woke up this past Sunday morning and couldn’t believe how cold I was. The house had been without power for the last eighteen hours and the temperature was down to about 48 degrees. Last Saturday, we had a freak October snowstorm and the chain reaction that had happened was devastating. Leaves still on the trees, and the snow accumulating so quickly brought down branches, trees, power lines, and in just a few short hours, had succeeded in bringing our part of New Jersey to a grinding halt.
So here I was, wondering what to do now? Our house had no electricity, and not only do we need it for heat, but we are on a well, and that meant no water. So we took stock of our resources, from what we had in the house, what we could do within our current means, then looked to family members to assist.
My brother came with a generator, since he had power and his generator was available. It wasn’t long before we had our heat back, and at least a limited supply of power to keep our food cold, our house warm, and our plumbing in running order (after many buckets from our tub, which we did have time to fill in anticipation of the power loss).
Monday came, and I had trouble getting the generator started, due to the cold that morning. So the house was cold again, and just about noon, as I was getting ready to go outside and try again to start the generator with my son, my brother returned out of the blue and helped me get it going. Then Mary’s parents came over with food, and another generator (just in case). So here we were, in the midst of what we deemed a crisis, with the love and support of family helping us over the obstacles of our disaster. Ran the power for a few hours, just enough to warm the house sufficiently, then shut down for the night.
This has now dragged on for four days, it’s almost Thursday, and we are surviving. We have light in the home office, I’m able to get internet via my Blackberry, and all’s right with the world. And now I’m thinking about two things, first about all the griping I’ve been doing mentally (and reading in Facebook posts) about the slow response that we are getting from the Power Company.
But secondly, I’m thinking, “Am I really having these thoughts?” I have a house that is at 62 degrees, running water, and I’m sitting with my wife, having a glass of wine, while I write. While there are thousands out there who live outside in the 40 degree cold, hope for access to a bathroom, and aren’t sure what they are going to eat tomorrow. I should worry about having the schlep gas cans to the station for a few more days, or go outside in the cold of the morning to start the generator.
So today I finally saw what many people in my community have already seen and acted on, and I feel ashamed that it took this situation to make me act. I am writing this to bring an organization to your attention, that deserves all of our support. A group that has been working to provide clothing, food and water, to many unfortunates in our area, and for years, I’ve done little more than contribute to their water and backpack drives.
Please visit OPERATION CHILLOUT, read about the work that they are doing, and if you can, participate in some way to contribute time, money, and prayer to the work being done by this organization.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence” (1 John 3:16-19)
I am so thankful for the love of a caring family, thankful that my family has a roof over our heads, and thankful that my suffering through this “crisis” will be short-lived. And I pray tonight for those who are so much more thankful for so much less…