The Face of My Friend

I have a friend in Texas who lives along the Gulf of Mexico and was unable to evacuate before Hurricane Harvey hit. She said that Harvey came in as a tropical storm and the worse that he was supposed to get is a Category 1. They get Cat 1 storms all the time–they aren’t that bad. My friends have ALWAYS left when hurricanes are worse and evacuations have been ordered because they feel that their home is not worth their lives. However, this storm quickly went from Cat 1 to Cat 4. By the time evacuations were ordered, it was already too late for them to get to safety. Also, her husband was called in to work when Harvey was a Cat 1 and now he can’t leave to get back to his wife so they are separated. Her town is now completely surrounded by water and more rain is expected. In fact, Harvey is expected to go back out into the Gulf–where he could gain strength–before heading back into land.

The good thing is that my friends lives at the highest point in the town so she’s not yet flooded and her neighborhood is one of the few in town who still has power. However, with more rain expected I’m so very worried about her. I tell her to check in with me often so I know she’s ok. God is actually taking care of her in amazing ways. For example, a utility worker stopped by today and told her that her neighbors on either side of her lost power–but she never did. Her husband’s company ran out of food for the employees because Harvey is staying around longer than most hurricanes. However, a grocery store is sending in food for them, even though most grocery stores have closed because of the storm.

I was thinking this afternoon that when there is a disaster–like Hurricane Harvey–our hearts genuinely have compassion for all the people who are suffering such calamity. However, the scope of devastation and the suffering of people can become overwhelming so we almost grow numb to it–too many faceless strangers suffering too much. But the anguish and anxiety becomes much sharper when a loved one is suffering in the midst of it all. It’s like no one else matters in the whole universe except the safety and well-being of my friend.  But, then, somehow, that anguish broadens to include everyone who is experiencing the suffering. It’s like the people whose towns are surrounded by water, the people trapped on their roofs waiting for rescue, the people who whose houses are destroyed…each one is no longer a nameless stranger. They each could be my friend–it could be her with a flooded house sitting on her roof hoping to be rescued. So in a way everyone IS her–everyone is wearing her face. Instead of being numbed by the magnitude of suffering, I find myself anguished about everyone as if they were my friend. I don’t know if that makes sense, and I don’t know if I’m putting into words exactly what I mean.

Ducks watching turkeys

In Michigan, we had beautiful sunny skies yesterday and a brief period of rain today.

Yesterday, we had the doe and her two fawns appear to nibble at our garden. Later the flock of turkeys came over the hill and meandered along the edge of the forest to the back yard and disappeared into the trees. I could tell when the duck saw the turkeys because they all went to the fence and watched them.

Shelob (Photo taken through the window)

Several times when I went into the back  yard, I noticed Shelob sitting at the entrance of her lair. As soon as she saw me–when I was about 6 (maybe 10) feet away–she would zip back into her hole. I thought, “Good, good. She is keeping her part of our pact. She is keeping out of my way. So far, we are co-existing.”

I went into our bedroom a little later on Saturday and looked out the window at the ducks. I suddenly decided to use my camera to zoom in on Shelob. She was sitting at the entrance to her hole again. So I called to EJ, handed him the binoculars we keep handy so we can better see wildlife, and told him to look. He was amazed at how big she was. I said, “I told you she was huge!” He decided to go outside to get a look at her. I remained in our bedroom and started videoing. I had to zoom in very far which makes it difficult to keep the camera still–every movement is magnified. I kept videoing until Shelob saw EJ and zipped into her hole. She sure is fast!

Photo by Teri Jensen
Sunflower field

This morning EJ and I went to Goodwill because I needed to buy a belt. One the way, EJ took a detour down a road to a boat launch at one of the lakes. We drove past a huge field of sunflowers. EJ estimated that that particular field was about 80 acres and he said that there is another sunflower field close by that is 100 acres. It was stunning to see so many sunflowers. I’ve never before seen so many.

As EJ drove along, I saw a hawk (or something similar) on the telephone line. It was intently looking down. I pointed it out to EJ. Suddenly, the hawk dropped straight down onto it’s lunch. It was quite a sight.

We had fun at Goodwill. It’s one of our favorite low-cost things to do. We had fun. I was able to buy a couple belts, and we found a few other things. I found a hoodie with the city name on it. I’m always looking for shirts with names of Northern Michigan attractions and towns…because I’m now a “local” and proud of it. It’s very frustrating when we find mostly shirts from downstate–like MSU or or schools/towns from where we used to live. EJ said that if we want Northern Michigan shirts, we need to buy them downstate.

After Goodwill, we went grocery shopping at the store near us. One of the employees (he might be a manager) said he heard that JJ was coming back to work there. I verified that JJ was. He said he was really glad. JJ starts his fall college classes tomorrow morning and returns to work at the grocery store soon.

It’s kind of interesting when we go to our little local grocery store because we are not merely customers. We have a special status because JJ works there and we are his parents. The store employees always greet us very warmly.

When we got back home and had eaten lunch, EJ went out to work on the Buggy while I washed dishes and laundry. We took time out to play our two-hole putt-putt course.


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