I live in Northern New Jersey. If you have knowledge of what’s been going on from Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Bahamas, Bermuda, and all the way north to Connecticut (maybe it reached Massachusetts?) regarding Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy, then perhaps you’ve seen the damage that it has done. Many lives have been lost. My title of this post came from the Grease song/scene; really it did leave many people devastated in misery and without homes and without loved ones. A friend of mine told me that one of her friends was in tears telling her that a couple she knew died because a tree fell on their car with them inside (driving, I assume to find safety) and left three children as orphans. This is the second deadliest hurricane in the Atlantic on record (Katrina being #1). Look at some of the destruction in these shots. 185 people total have been reported as deceased from this (113 from the US).
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.” -Psalm 107:28-30
Perhaps you remember my post about how Hurricane Irene hit us last year in August. One of my friends had to live somewhere else for months and months and finally moved back to her home a few months ago. When we heard that Sandy was coming, Northern NJ was pretty frantic in thinking it would be like Irene, while Southern NJ thought they wouldn’t get touched since Irene had missed them. South Jersey quickly realized that this was one of the worst things to come to them. There have been houses completely swept to other places, lifted off of their foundations. A friend of mine told me that her cousin lost her home in Cape May (thankfully our friends in Cape May had no issues at all).
Here is our personal experience from Hurricane Sandy:
Sunday night it was starting to get a bit windy. Monday night Rob came home early from work. He parked our car in our landlord’s driveway on the opposite side of the house. When I put the boys to bed at 6:30 (since they didn’t nap), Rob kept trying to show me that he noticed the ground underneath the tree at the tip of our driveway was pulsating. I could not see it at all, but he kept watching it for a good half an hour. Finally I heard a noise and Rob said the tree was falling. I yelled out, “Honey, get over here!!!!” I was so scared he was going to get hit. We live in a two-family house and we are on the top floor. The winds were shaking the trees worse than I had ever experienced. When the tree hit, our landlord who lives downstairs knocked on our door and made sure we were okay. Thankfully the damage was only a bit of a bent siding and gutter. If our car was in the driveway, it would have been destroyed. The tree did land on our house, but it was fine. We still had power even. As the winds continued to rush, the boys were excited and scared at the same time. It was at this point where bedtime was unthinkable for them.
We couldn’t reach Rob’s parents, as their power was already out for a few hours in NY (a tree hit their house but did not damage it). My parents and brothers had no power as well (they are fine). It was raining, but not too much (more like a mist). It was just incredibly windy. I heard transformers blowing up all around, and we saw blue in the sky from it all (some people saw green). What freaked me out was that I saw fire and a lot of smoke blowing towards our house, from a few buildings away (from one of the transformers). I said, “Oh God! Help us! Oh God!” Leto got so nervous to hear me say this that he said, “What, Mommy?” In which I said, “There is a fire! Let’s start packing things now! Put on your coats!” Leto was crying and very scared and Micah was in shock and didn’t react much (but just wanted to be held and was clingy to Rob). I started to go through everyone’s drawers taking out two of each thing: shirts, pants, underwear, and socks. I grabbed my Bible and camera and the book I was just starting to read. It took about 2 minutes. As I was heading downstairs Rob said, “It’s gone now.” I looked. No fire. What a wonderful thing. He said it was good I packed though, so I kept everything by the door just in case.
We all sat on the stairs of our home with the door open. Our landlord/neighbor Mark (we call him “Uncle Mark”, a habit since I’ve known him my entire life and he is a friend of my parents) and Rob stood on the porch to watch things, and the boys and I would take a peek every so often. We heard tree after tree falling. At about 10:30 we still had power, and I decided it was time to put the boys to bed, but in our living room (where the tree hit) because there were no other trees in reach of this area. The power went out minutes later. I read them some chapters from The Bible, though when I stopped they told me to read more. Instead I decided to sing to them and hoped they’d fall asleep (it worked). At 11:45 they fell asleep (in the video below I say it is 10:30, but I checked my phone right after it and saw I was off by an hour). Rob and I went to bed at about 12:30AM, though Micah was so scared with the noise of all the trees shaking that he constantly called for me. I don’t think I got much of any sleep at all.
I sang this softly and an octave too low for me, but oh well…
The next morning we saw the damage done in our neighborhood. We had no power for a few days (and it got as cold as 39F outside), but on Friday night Uncle Mark got a generator and we were able to have heat and refrigeration during that night and into the following day. We handled having no power pretty well. We were cold, but bundled up nicely from Monday night through Friday afternoon. I had to throw things out from the fridge, but we bought food ahead of time that we could make on our gas stove (soups and such). I enjoyed having the candles lit, but it was tough to read books by flashlight at night. I started with 150 candles all together and ended with 2 large candles & 10 tea light candles!
On Saturday (yesterday; my birthday), our telephone pole was fixed, though we didn’t get power until Saturday night. This morning (Sunday) our tree was starting to get removed as we left for church (which got power back on Wednesday). The tree specialists finished removing the tree at about 1 PM. They also removed the tree that fell on our neighbor’s house (no damage). We still know many people who are without power. So many gas stations are not open around here and people are still trying to collect gas for their generators and cars. We sat in line for about an hour last night for gas, but know that others have waited about 3 or 4 hours or have driven to distances of over an hour in hopes to get gas. People are going a little crazy, though we have had great positive spirits and a peace has been filled in our hearts by God throughout the event. Rob was actually a little bummed out when we got power back, because he was enjoying the candlelight. We thank you for the prayers lifted because I believe I truly experienced many answers to those prayers. I had been feeling down for about a month and this event actually lifted me up and helped me feel more at ease (sounds odd, but it is true).
Please pray for those who have no homes to go to, those who have lost loved ones, those who are lost and confused and angry and upset. Pray that God will help them in all their circumstances and that they will trust in Him. Pray people will stay warm, well fed, and be able to rise above their grief after their mourning is complete. It is not an easy thing to go through, and we didn’t suffer as others have at all, but we pray that they will find peace and a calm through the storm. I have never seen so many angry or scared people as I have this week. If you want to help, please donate to World Vision’s Disaster relief. Perhaps you would like to volunteer to help with the US Disaster relief for Sandy’s devastation with Samaritan’s Purse. Thank you.
All the photos I posted here is from our damage, but please check out the links I posted throughout here who have far worse issues than we could fathom.