In the Bible book of Genesis is the story of God raining down "fire and brimstone" on the cities of Sodom and Gomorra. Seems father Abraham gets up and looks around at all the destruction, then goes back to bed. I can just imagine him shrugging his shoulders and saying, "So, what are you going to do?" Good old Abraham would have understood that no matter what devastation falls from above, in the morning God will again bless the land and life will go on.
I take comfort in my version of this story every time we get one of our infamous thunderstorms. Bad as it seems, what are you going to do? As everyone knows the best defense against storms it to crawl into bed and pull the sheet over your head.
With all due respect to both those who have suffered a direct hit from one of these storms and to those more theologically attuned than I, Kay and I have never experienced any mentionable loss. Our experience is mostly the being scared part. (Actually the people who lived in our house before us left an oil lantern in the cellar; so I'm thinking they were more frightened than I).
Our worse thunderstorm trauma has been the electric going off. We've had this happen twice in the past week or so. There may not be anything that happens in a modern society which can make a man feel more lost.
There's no TV! Worse, perhaps the most terrible of all, no computer! Even the last resort of the 21st century, reading, is unavailable. Then there is the air-conditioner: it might not even be possible to live anywhere on earth without AC. Nothing to do but go outside and greet the neighbors we hadn't seen since the last time the power went off.
To give them their due, Duke Energy is very good about getting to the problem as quickly as possible. We used to call to report outages, but have found its gets restored just as fast if we assume Duke must already know about it. It's just the in-between that's so inconvenient.
Maybe waiting out a storm in the dark a good thing. How little do we really comprehend the horror others go through when the storms of life touch down? Will this experience teach us anything about preparation, or will we go through life assuming someone else will solve the problem? How little do we appreciate what we have when we have it? How many of our "problems" are really questions of affluence unknown in most of the world? And, maybe, just maybe, getting to know our neighbors is a good thing.
On the original Twilight Zone television program there was a story about how the Martians began to take over the earth simply by doing things like turning off the electric power. The story line was something about how modern man simply went mad without his modern conveniences. I prefer to think this wouldn't happen. I prefer to think better of my fellowman, for I have seen neighbor helping neighbor when both suffered unimaginably. I prefer to believe that after the storms God will again bless this land, and life will go on.
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.