(by Jun Felix, CFC FFL New Jersey)
The past two days have been challenging. We had Hurricane Sandy visit us from Oct 28 evening until Oct 30 in the early morning. As of now, we still don’t have electricity, telephone, cable and internet (although I am using my work’s computer because it has 3G feed). My AT&T phone has no signal. It is a good thing that my work phone has a signal. I was able to forward my ATT&T calls to my work phone before I lost the signal.
The storm has a sustained winds of 85mph and gusts up to at least 100mph. It was a blessing that it did not bring a lot of rain. The forecast was that there will be at least 4 inches of rain in the area. The rain was minimal in my place and it did not saturate the ground. If the forecast happened plus blackout, it will cause a flooding in my basement.
Nature has been warning us long before. We have casualties because some of them did not heed the warning of the government that this is a once-in-a-lifetime storm. You may have seen the images of some damages such as the washing out of the famouse Boardwalk of the Atlantic City, sinking of the famous pier in Seaside Heights, water filled Brooklyn-Battery Tunnels and seven Subway tunnels, floating cars in the Financial District of New York City, washed away houses and more than 80 houses burned in Breezy Point (Queens, NY). My house has only a broken glass when the wind blew in the glass of my storm door at the back of my porch.
The government has given warnings but God has warned us many times. I noticed that last Sunday, the Church was not even half-filled. A lot of the parishioners are busy preparing for the storm. How I wished that people have prayed that day. And, of course, some of my fellow parishioners did not even finished the Mass (I was giving Holy Blood and they were passing in front of me after they received the Holy Communion).
We celebrated as family that day as we had lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (I had a $50 gift card which is not enough). Then, we went home to prepare for the storm. I stored a total of 74 gallons of water just in case there is no supply of water. Of course, there should be a source of light…flashlights and candles. I had my pocket tool handy. I bound that will fly with wire and bungy cords. Then, we a sumptuous dinner from our leftover (Cheesecake Factory). And we had a movie night.
The next day, the kids had movie as there was no school. The most exciting movie was the “October Baby.” You can see the glory of God with the movie centered on forgiveness. We had a delicious ribeye steak dinner. Then,….boom! the electricity was gone.
The wind was already at around 80mph (128kph) gusting to up to 100mph (160kph) on Monday evening. Then, I heard a glass shattered in my porch. My storm door was blown in. I checked on my surroundings. My neighbor’s tree fell on another neighbor’s electric and telephone lines. Every hour, I was checking everything. But the most important thing was that we prayed the Rosary. The kids went to bed early.
Today, I woke up with no sense of strong winds. I went out to check my house. No damage except for the storm door. My neighbor’s had fallen trees or big branches. My neighbor who is two doors up had her roof shingles blown out (she needs a new roof). I attempted to work and I see a lot of fallen trees in the park and neighborhoods. Some of the cars and homes are under them.
I really wanterd to check on my patients but the bridges were closed. I attempted twice but they did not allow me, even after I showed them my ID that I am a health care provider.
Today, I cut my neighbor’s tree with my gas-powered chainsaw trimmer. I gave some taper candles to my senior citizen neighbor. And I had a chat with some of my neighbors. Of course, I was wearing my CFCFFL sweater and cap. I am blessed to have this opportunity to be with next door neighbor and share my blessings.
I hope that people come back to the Church and learn to pray again…not just even on the time such as this but everyday. And I just hope that people will learn to see in this tragedy the glory of God by reaching out to people. My family and I hope and pray that the States of North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island will be able to recover from this devastation. (As of now, the storm is heading up on Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, Western New York, Michigan and parts of Canada).
Just till then. God bless.
[Pictures from the storm:]