Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

September 19, 2004


Digging out, cooking on the grill, cleaning up, and moving on


          Hurricane Ivan is four hours away from landfall. Experts are making their ominous predictions, but no one knows what life will be like on Thursday. One thing is certain – everyone is preparing for the worst and praying that it will not be as bad as it could be. Fierce winds and heavy rain can do a lot of damage.

          My wife and I removed things from our yard that the wind could turn into missiles. All the flowers in pots, and the hanging baskets, have been stored away. Bird feeders have been taken to safety. Safety is relative, of course. Both the storage houses could be blown away by Friday.

          We filled the bathtubs and the coolers with water. Since we are likely to be without power for several days, the water could come in handy. We are prepared to cook on the gas grill outside – unless Ivan blows it halfway across the county.

          Candles and matches are ready to use if necessary. Flashlights have fresh batteries and within easy reach when the power goes off. Extra food is stored in the pantry, especially canned foods which need no refrigeration. Gas cans are filled and the chainsaw is ready. The car and the van are filled with gas. We are as ready as we know how to be.

          I am able to say that only because my brother Seth, and his wife Pearl, came to our rescue. We were sweating, fussing, and struggling to get ready when Seth and Pearl drove up and offered us a helping hand. Two people were never more welcome! We would not have made it without their help. After we finished, Dean fixed some lunch at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It is fun to eat peas and potato salad with your brother and his wife as a wicked hurricane is bearing down on us.

          If our stuff gets blown away, we will not miss a lot of it. Much of it is never used. I think sometime we are just saving it for our children to throw away after we depart. Stuff can be replaced.

          What matters most is the safety of our loved ones and friends. That is what we care about. That is what we will be praying for – protection for all who are in harm’s way, especially the people we love.

          If we have it to do, we can cook outside on a grill for awhile. Old-timers tell us how they survived without electricity in the good old days. If the power is off, we will thank God for that bright caveman who discovered how to make a fire and cook Dinosaur fingers long ago. Somebody in the neighborhood will invite us to a barbeque because a freezer full of deer meat should not go to waste.

          If we survive the hurricane, and the tornadoes it spawns, we will dig out, make out, clean up, regroup, and move on. We will do that because life is like that. Trouble comes; we endure it, overcome it, and move on with our lives. We say, “That’s life.” And so it is, like it or not.

          In times of disaster, we see America at its best. We see people helping others. We see generosity practiced to the extent that we are amazed. We recently sent aid to fellow sufferers in Florida. Soon we will be the beneficiaries of the kindness of others, for people all across the country will be coming to help us. They will come with their chainsaws, and with water, food, and fresh supplies. This is the spirit makes America such a truly great country.

          For a few days we will not be able to communicate with our telephones and computers. Some of us may even enjoy a breather from the tyranny of these electronic gadgets. However, we will still be able to communicate through the universal medium, the language of love. When disaster strikes, love is not words but a helping hand bringing ice or water. Even when the power lines are down, and the streets are flooded, love never fails.

          For that, we can all look past the mess that a hurricane brings, and thank God. We can love. We can be loved. We can start over. In the end, that is what matters most. + + + +