That’s what all the news reports said back in October, anyway. But that’s what they always say: DEATH AND DESTRUCTION ARE ON THE HORIZON!!! BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES!! (I don’t really know what that phrase means, but I love how it sounds.) BUY ALL THE BREAD!!! BUY ALL THE MILK!!! BUY ALL THE WATER!!!
So, generally I don’t listen to all that. Because they say it all. the. time. Seriously. Have these weather forecasters and news “reporters” never read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf?” They really should. There’s a lesson in that for them. I’ve lived all but 18 months of my life in the land of Nor’easters and hurricanes riding up the coast just close enough to maaayyyyybeeee, posssssibly cause a problem. And, admittedly, every once in a while they do, indeed, cause a problem. But for weeks at a time, I hear about how This one. This one is going to cause real damage. And the newscasters are super stoked! to report the potential for complete and utter destruction and devastation. What is wrong with these people? If they’re right, it’s a tragedy about to unfold. Tragedy! people. To real, bona fide lives. If they’re wrong, they’re scaring the pants off of people for entertainment. bad. Just bad either way.
So, October. It’s October and I’m all buried in school work, dreaming and scheming of PhDing in the not-so-distant future. Learning all about 1800 years of church history all at once, to various degrees of depth. I’m not watching TV, I’m not really plugging in to the outside world much. But then I see things showing up on my friends’ Facebook feeds about some storm on the way. So I check out the links and I listen to the weather people tell me yet again that “If this air moves this way, and this air moves that way, and these three things come together allllll at the same time, then maybe, just maybe there might be COMPLETE AND UTTER DESTRUCTION AND DEVASTATION!!! wooo-hoooooo!!!!” and I roll my eyes and go back to the Middle Ages where people did up destruction and devastation with abandon.
As time moves forward, though, people don’t stop talking about this storm. People talk and talk about how all those variables are coming together. And I think, “Hunh. Maybe we’re actually going to get some sort of storm this week.” And so I drag myself out to the store to buy some water. You know. Just in case.
Well. Turns out if you wait until the day before the storm’s supposed to hit, buying water is no longer an option. Go figure. And canned goods are slim pickin’s. And forget about bread. So, you feel like a doofus for participating in the frenzy and you feel like a neglectful mom for not actually acquiring the life-saving essentials that all the other good mothers have acquired.
The storm hits. Her name is Sandy. Perhaps you’ve heard of her? and I live smack in the middle of New Jersey. Perhaps you’ve heard of it?
Now, thankfully, I do live in the middle of Jersey, and not at The Shore. So, we had insane winds and not a whole heck of a lot of rain. So, no flooding. But our power went out. For a week.
While that sounds like no big deal, for this widow-light mom to three, attending grad school full-time, it really was quite devastating. Quite destructive. Because, really, to that point I was just hanging on by my finger tips. Of all 13 semesters of seminary my husband and I had experienced to that point, that one was the most labor-intensive, demanding, challenging, difficult, overwhelmingly-holy-bananas-are-you-trying-to-kill-me-with-work??!! semesters ever of all time. ever. (and, it retains that title, as this semester is far easier than last.) So, this little storm named Sandy showed up when I had just kind of caught up after reading week, but still had a very tight schedule laid out for finishing all of my requirements for the semester. And she took away my power. And she kept my kids out of school for a week. Which meant I had to actually be a mom to my kids for a week instead of handing them off the state for their care and feeding.
I did what any wise woman living in an apartment with no electricity to fuel her stove would do: I ran away. I gathered up my children and I headed for the hills. Literally. Higher ground, further from the storm’s devastation. I spent the next week with family, trying desperately (but failing miserably) to keep to my tight school work schedule, trying to keep my kids feeling safe and content while we were living somewhere other than our already temporary home in New Jersey.
Sandy sucked out an entire week of my life, of my school schedule. And really, with that, she pretty much sucked out my PhD dreams. I know it doesn’t seem like a week without power should have that much of an effect, but it did. I never regained that week, I never could pull together the rest of the work I needed to do to finish the semester up to my standards. Even up to my lowered standards. And the entire event left me feeling like I had been kicked in the gut. Really? The year my husband is far, far away and I’m trying to do grad school as a single mom is the year that the Worst Storm of All Time has to hit the state in which I am temporarily residing? Really??!!
yeah. just a kick in the gut.
more to come . . .