Power outages are too familiar to us. As the different neighborhoods were affected and we connected our helping hands together, I thought back to other experiences that still shape great friendships. What we don’t yet realize is how much we will be connected to the people who sheltered or delivered firewood or prayed for each other during the “Snowpocalypse” we just endured.
Two decades ago, we spent 9 days without power after an ice storm knocked out power in our entire region. One morning I was cooking breakfast on our grill. We were fortunate to have natural gas for water heaters, fireplace, and the grill on our porch. A head popped up over the edge of our back fence. She was a teacher in a local school, and a woman I had baptized just months earlier. “Whatcha doing?” she called.
“Making breakfast. You want some?”
“Pancakes!” I answered.
“How do you keep the batter from falling though the grate?” she asked. My only response was to hold up the frying pan that was sitting on the grill. She squealled and cried out, “I’m so blonde! I’m so blonde!” (HER words, not mine!) We had a great breakfast together that day and our boys soaked in the great company of that morning. This week I reached out to her to relive this special memory. We’ll always be connected by that shared hardship.
A big snowstorm closed I-30 between Texarkana and Dallas, so travelers filled every motel space in town. An older couple was standing at the register, asking the clerk, “Isn’t there anywhere we can stay?” And the clerk said, “I bet some of the churches will be housing people.” I was walking up the aisle as this conversation was wrapping up, and I joined the conversation.
And they followed me to warm shelter as the snow continued to mount outside. They were from the Midwest, on their way to South Padre for the winter months but were stuck in our little town while the highway was closed. They have been to Midlothian on their subsequent trips, and we are in touch every Christmas, savoring the relationship that has become a gift to both of us. He reached out to me this week to assure me he and his precious bride (both now in their 90’s) were praying for us. We’ll always be connected by that shared hardship.
What will God do with our surprises and hardships from our own weather disaster?
I hope our kids will remember neighbors who brought firewood, offered meals, who camped in our homes, or who offered their homes to us. I hope they will remember the shared grief of broken pipes, the celebration of hot showers as a break in their cold. I hope they will remember that we SHARED this time. And I hope that years from now, we will recognize clearly this: we’ll always be connected by that shared hardship and the fellowship that it birthed for us.