Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Through the eye of the storm

I see things differently after a week of viewing life through the eye of Hurricane Frances. Less is more. Looming mountains are more often crumbling molehills.

I can live five or six days without air conditioning, electricity, phones, and all the other appliances of modern convenience. I can sleep on top of the sheets on a hot muggy night with the windows open. I can survive a six hour drive to Tallahassee with Jack, Pal and Red. (They key is doggy tranquilizers.) Email does not define me. Writing can be set aside for a few days to put life on it's right side.

Our stay in Tallahassee was nice. Mom traveled to Nashville with Pete and Julie, so Tony and I, Danny and Grandma celebrated Dad's birthday on Saturday. Later that night, I crossed the street with Grandma and in her quiet little house, we watched 50's television while I edited Lambert's Code. Then, we watched "The Way We Were" on some movie channel. It was very pleasant, and for me, a lasting memory.

Sunday Tony saw that Frances moved toward Tampa and decided we could drive over the northern edge of the storm by going I-10 East to Jacksonville. So, after some discussion, we packed up and headed for home. Turns out, the northeastern rainbands, the worst of the storms rainbands, were going over Jacksonville the same time we were driving through. I told Tony I thought that they were going to see some weather, but in his mind, the storm had passed. We watched the same weather channel, but saw something different. He felt pretty bad when we were driving in rain and wind, but we decided to keep going. Around Daytona, trees littered the left lane of south bound I-95. Very dangerous, especially at night. But we made it home safe and though all of the radio voices we heard said, "Stay home. Stay off the roads if at all possible" we were not the only crazies on the road.

Home around mid-night, we took the boards off in some wind and rain. But we needed the air in the house. Pal rode home in the extended cab and acutally slept. He didn't sleep much on the way up. We gave him his doggy drug, but let him run around in the yard and get all keyed up. Sheez. When we got to Mom and Dad's, we let Pal get up on Mom's beautiful new quilt so he would settle down and go to sleep. That's when the doggy drug kicked in. I woke up asking, "Why is the bed wet?" He peed! I felt terrible!! But we got it cleaned up and all is well.

Anyway, I stressed out over my book the entire weekend. I kept thinking "this books stinks," and "I'm not going to have time to fix it." But taking some great advice from a good friend, Tracey Bateman, I knew I needed to take a break and set the story aside for a few days. Looking at Lambert's Code through the eye of Frances benefited me nothing.

I'm happy to report I took a break from the work and this moring at 2 a.m. when it was too hot to sleep, I figured out how to "fix" the story. God is my great editor!

Monday we cut up fallen tree parts, cut down a leaning tree and cleared debri out of the yard. Lance and Shannon don't have water, but we do so they've been walking down for showers. We had dinner with them last night. They grilled the meat that is finally thawing. Steak and chicken nuggests. Yum.

It's fun to sit in the light of candles and hurricane lamps, talking, without the noise of television, phones and computers. We've lost the art of neighborly affection. Because of this hurricane, we finally met our next door neighbors after a year and a half. Carlos, who lives behind us, hopped the fence with his ladder and chainsaw to help Tony cut down a leaning pine. And of course, our fellowship with Lance, Shannon and the kids.

Life can't stay like this. Like the hurricane's eye, this lull in life only passes over for a short time. Then the winds and rain start again. We are in that calm, eye-of-the-storm right now, but life will resume it's pace again. Noise, "wind" and "rain." Commonly known as busyness, stress and the job-at-hand. But from the calm of the storms center, we can learn to be at peace no matter what's going on around us. Jesus is always the eye over us. Our peace.

Cassie's here. She must use my computer now. Blessings!

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