You may or may not have heard about Hurricane Arthur in the past couple of weeks. Well, I'm not so happy to say my City got to experience him firsthand... He blew into town late last week and caused a lot of damage... Some of my friends and locals are still without power as I write this. I've included two personal picture of damage in my area but they are nothing compared to some I've seen! I know there are way worse storms in the world and I'm not comparing, just allow me to say "if you're not prepared, the storm magnifies regardless of intensity" and we were not prepared in my area. Storms of this magnitude just don't usually happen in Fredericton.
I, thankfully, have power restored to my home and office and I feel so bad for those who are still without, we definitely take a lot for granted that electricity has to offer us. I've read and heard a lot of critics perspectives on NB Power and its crews and those who have come to our City to help us and let me just remind those who may be aggravated with the timetable of when they are to expect power to be restored that we do not experience storms like this in our area... It's not that our power companies can't plan well or that they are not intelligent but they are planning for over 140,000 customers unexpectedly and at once, all things considered we should be showing gratitude for the concern, compassion of others, long hours worked, families missing out on having all members present at supper because they're cutting trees from power lines or installing polls or making schedules and the persistence of the power company in trying to restore electricity to so many.
We had church via generator last weekend and I have to say, I was not excited about that at all... We have done it before and it was strangely nice but I just wasn't looking forward to it Sunday. (For shame that I've even admitted that, ha!) It's funny how sometimes what I am not looking forward to, something I don't want is exactly what is needed. I'm so glad I went in spite of my less than enthusiastic approach, I can't explain why but somehow the lack of lights, cameras and booming sound system made everyone a little more family like, a little closer, there was just a beautiful atmosphere. We sang regular songs and did everything as usual but there was a tangible difference, maybe because without the mentioned lights, camera, mics we weren't waiting for chentertainment ("church entertainment" yes, I made up a word, be proud Pastor Leaman!) or because no one came to hear the songs, check out the production tools or staging but whether it was difference in purpose or electricity there was a change in the air... Maybe we were without electricity but the Power of God was there in a marked way. Yes, there was removal of some extras and yes, it was noticed but no, there was not a void... in fact, it was the opposite of void.
I heard Mayor Woodside say on the radio (and if he's reading, awesome job, your kindness and compassion for this City were well expressed) 'it was sort of nice to see neighbors come out of their homes and talk, to pull together in this time... Fredericton is a strong, good City and will come out better on the other side because of this storm.' (loose quote) And he is right! It was nice to actually sit at the supper table instead of on the sofa with the TV blaring, to play board games with friends and family, to go for a walk and chat with the neighbors along the way, to watch the birds outside and to sit and think in quiet... It was nice to help others and to receive help from those around us. Difficulties arose from Hurricane Arthur, yes. It was and is hard to be creative and figure out how you are to move forward in a somewhat normal fashion without electricity, we can't allow the storm to stop the world around us... I know it was and is a huge inconvenience to go without power for so long... And I'm probably being kind calling it an inconvenience but in some ways even though it is hard isn't it exactly what we need? Kind of like a "hard reset." A hard reset is just that, hard... When you hard reset your phone it can wipe out some things you want but not what you need, it can be frustrating and it can create work in trying to recover and repair, but it's the only thing that can help sometimes... And the reset result is worth the hard part. So let us make Hurricane Arthur into a "hard reset" in our lives. There are some neighborly and family basics we've learned again but let's not let it die in the days ahead, let Hurricane Arthur's havoc be a hard reset that changes the way we live. Continue having some meals at our tables, continue chatting with our neighbors, continue inviting people who are less fortunate than ourselves to enjoy some of our blessings, continue looking for ways to help those around us and be sure we are able to accept help when we're in need.
One last picture of my mama during Hurricane Arthur...