This being one of the coldest mornings so far this year, I turned on the gas logs, poured my coffee and while waiting for my waffles to heat in the toaster oven, turned on the tv to get the weather forecast. A typical start to the day - but not to those in the northeast who, while trying to recover from the worst hurricane ever in that area, were hit again with a n'oreaster bringing more wind, rain and snow. Those who had power restored, which were very few so far, lost it again after just enough time to heat the cold walls and beds, which I'm sure was appreciated if only briefly.
The scene was one of destruction, despair and the death toll is still uncertain. A reporter was interviewing a woman who had been displaced by the storm. 'This was my home,' she said tearfully. 'I've lived here 30 years and I have nothing left. I have nowhere to go and no idea what I'm going to do.' The clothes she was wearing were given to her at one of the donation centers. I cried with her, trying to imagine what I would do in her place - how does one start over? Where does one begin?
The importance of my weather forecast immediately went way down the list of priorities. Rising on my list at the moment was how can I help? If I could share my hot coffee, warm waffles, clean water and heat, of course I would in a heartbeat. This obviously is not physically possible, but I can give, if only in a small way - perhaps enough to supply water, blankets and/or food for a few - possibly a bag of dog or cat food for those whose animals are suffering and hungry. And I can pray.........
I looked at Maggie lying close to my feet contentedly chewing on her morning treat. I began to notice, in a deeper and more appreciative way, my surroundings - one by one things took on new meaning. The glow of the gas logs - the aroma from the kitchen - a sense of comfort and well-being came over me as would a warm blanket. Things normally taken for granted - the gas and electric coming on with the flick of a switch, the coffee pot beginning to brew when turned on, hot water streaming from the shower head - things that provide one's needs are not usually something we think about in the course of everyday life - unless they aren't there when we need them.
The Lord has blessed my family and me abundantly through the years - sometimes with far more than we needed or deserved - but never was there not enough. As I pray, not only for those who are victims of the storms, but all who are suffering from job loss, broken homes and all the ills of our society today, I pray also for those of us who have been blessed with enough and spared from the storms - that we may greet each day with an attitude of gratitude and always be mindful of the needs of others - 'there, but for the Grace of God, go I...' "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests.....but the interest of others." Philippians 2:3~4