Today is the two year anniversary of Hurricane Gustav. We, along with everyone else for hundreds of miles around us, went through all the routine preparations you make in the event of a hurricane coming your way. We packed important papers and medicines. We stocked up on non-perishables, batteries, and gas for the generator. We filled our bathtubs, sinks, washing machines, and as many jugs as we could find full of water. We charged our cell phones, laptops, and cameras. We filled our vehicles with gas. We boarded up windows and secured anything and everything that could become a missile during the heavy winds. I also went a step further. For some reason, I decided that I wanted to have a video of what it's like to be in a hurricane, so, I began the "documentary" the day before showing the calm before, the preparations we made, and what our house and landscape looked like before the big weather event.
During the course of the actual hurricane, I made sure to document the changes in the strength of the storm at least every hour. We were able to be outside during most of the hurricane because there is an outdoor kitchen that was blocking the wind and rain. I've been through hurricanes all of my life and despite the damage they can do, it's kind of exciting really. The power of nature is incredible to witness.
From time to time we would see tin fly through the sky and stray items blowing past us. When things got really going we saw what looked like someone's roof blowing across the field from where we were. Not long after this it got very scary and it became apparent that it was too dangerous for us to be outside anymore, so we went indoors through the worst of it.
Once things finally started slowing down, Freddie decided to give in to his curiosity and make his way next door to see how our house held up. A few minutes later, he returns to my parent's house out of breath and almost in a panic. He said, "Our roof is gone." I said, "What do you mean?" He rephrased it, "The roof flew off of the house." (As it turns out, that roof I saw flying across the field was ours.) "What's under the roof?" I asked. He looked at me like I was speaking Russian. "The ceiling." "Do you think it's raining in our house? You think it's wet inside?" "Dana, the roof is gone. Yes. It's raining inside of the house." He continued, "Once it slows down, we need to get over there and start moving the electronics out of the water."
It's hard to describe how you feel when you lose your house, and almost everything in it. It ended up that the insurance company totaled the house. We had decisions to make, and fast. We had to find a place for the six of us to live. Thank God that Freddie's sister & her husband loaned us their camper. We decided that the best thing to do was to repair our home & live in the camper until it was finished. We had some amazing people who stepped up and just blessed us beyond belief! I could go on and on about how humble I feel. In times like these, you learn the true character of a person. Sometimes you're disappointed, but, sometimes you are just bombarded with God's grace!
You also realize just how much you can live without when you're faced with circumstances like these. It became very clear to me what was really important in my life. "Things" are nice to have, but, you really don't need very much to survive. It puts your life into a whole different perspective.
Today, I am sitting in a remodeled home. I love my house. It may not be as nice as what others might have. But, it's where my family is together. It's where we belong. It's where we feel safe and loved.
I am grateful that we went through what we did. It was difficult~ we lived in a camper with no less than 30 mice (the mice were there before we were), 2 fish, an 8 month old, 5 year old, 7 year old, 9 year old, and 2 exhausted adults. We ate (juggled) many microwaved dinners, endured a terrible stomach bug, and a few trips to the ER. (Freddie shot a nail from a nail gun through his hand.) But, I learned a lot from that time. I learned that my husband is one of the strongest people I have ever known. I learned exactly who I can count on. I learned that there are some people on this earth who are truly giving and compassionate. I learned that "stuff" can be destroyed in a matter of minutes, and what remains through the destruction is beautiful and priceless. I learned that my faith and trust in God is strong. And I have seen God's blessings firsthand!
"Unless The Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless." Psalm 127:1
"Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever you treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." Matthew 6:19-21
This is right after the rain and winds died down enough for us to start moving about. You can see the water on the ceiling, What you can't see is the water dripping from the ceiling.
You can see water dripping between the wall and the paint.
It was really nasty. It was dripping this orangey-brown colored honey-syrupy "stuff".