Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy on the ground.

I keep looking at this picture from yesterday of a
double rainbow touching down in lower Manhattan post-Sandy.
And thinking of the line from "O Love that will not let me go,"
... I trace the rainbow through the rain.
Inside in the dark, once the TV and internet are cut off and cellular service trickles to a stop, you just don't know how bad it is outside, without a battery operated radio. High up on the 13th Fl on 13th St, we thought it was a pre-emptive shutdown by ConEd. We knew nothing of the 14th St transistor explosion.

Public schools, NYSE, and mass transit shut down. With no traffic signals, travelling on 2 or 4 wheels is treacherous. Determined New Yorkers were marching across the bridges to get to work today. Roads are barely passable due to high traffic and they're highly dangerous.

Everything below 39th St lost power. Crossing that line while walking/hitchhiking the 9 miles back to Harlem yesterday was like going from night to day.

It is said that many needing rescue in Staten Island were able to reach family/friends/help by Twitter and text. It was not difficult to imagine as my cell signal was lost and the roaming capacities drained the battery (though I had two fully charged spares, a cleaned tub full of water, charged laptop/iPod, a fridge full of ice/food, non-perishables, candles, flash lights, batteries) of the indefinitely long silence/darkness that others may have to endure...

We were prepared. We had heeded the warnings over the weekend, and stood in the lines to get in the grocery stores, and stood in the lines to check out of the grocery stores. Trader Joe's was especially scary.

When the power went out, I had been pre-cooking more just-in-case bunker meals and watching TV. And when my cell signal faded I thought oh man, I can't let everyone know I'm okay--they only know what they're seeing on TV & Twitter. But it was far better than, oh no, I can't let anyone know I'm not okay.

Today as the temperature drops, I'm thinking of those people who are stuck and whose electronics have died... With no heat, power, water, supplies, or any way to charge their devices.

Also hoping against any more casualties from live wires as waters recede and the power gets turned back on...

Dad works at Inteliquent. The communications blackout helped me appreciate what he does--their NYC office at 75 Broad handles 150K concurrent calls per hour. Their battery will dry up in another hour or two, and they are working hard to get a 7-ton generator from Pennsylvania up and running before this happens. The three other major carrier buildings in NYC, at 60 Hudson, 32 Avenue of the Americas, and 111 8th Ave, are in the same boat. The fire department and FEMA alike are not helping--perhaps not understanding the need to keep phone networks and internet working in such emergencies. Their engineers reached the office around noon yesterday (and two stayed overnight to accept a 4am generator delivery) to run a 4-strand heavy gaurge wire for 200 feet or so from the 4th floor to a back alley generator. They're scrambling to get it done in the next two hours. Many communication gears around the city remain submerged and will probably be reconstructed on higher floors--no more basement servers.

Proud of you, Dad.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

This Very Present Darkness

These days, I have said to friends, depression is knocking at my door, and I am fearful, though I have been told I need not, and must not, be dismayed.

It crouches at my door. I must not be mastered by it.

Some days I am inexplicably (with reference to my current circumstances) sad and disembodied. This gloomy cloud follows me.

These days, I miss her. She understood. But I don't just miss her understanding; I don't just miss being understood. I miss her. I feel her absence without jumping to fill it for someone else for the first time since that initial sorrow. I think of how a year ago around now, we were planning for our weekend in Princeton.

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it (Hebrews 2:1). Do not neglect your great salvation, Esther. You have a Savior!

So having put on the full armor, is our only marching order to stand firm? Will Papa really fight on our behalves?

Arm ourselves for the darkness at hand, we must.

Because the fog--It obscures the truth that He already has championed us. And He's irrevocably won.

I pray that mercy would root my heart and mind deeply in the gospel. And that the light of this victory would resight my blind fumbling aim and distorted vision.

I must see You, Jesus. Please open my eyes and fix them on You or I shall certainly get lost in the ambiguities.

A deep fog stalks me. But another cloud goes before. By day. By night (Exodus 13:21). It shepherds me along the Way.

Even those sheep who stray into rabbit trails are not lost to You.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward...

You will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You?

And there is nothing on earth that I desire--besides You.

My flesh and my heart do fail.

But God is the strength of my heart and my portion. Forever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

We never arrive until we are home.

"Because we are sojourners and pilgrims in this world, struggle and strain will always attend our steps... Here is how an old missionary from Africa once put it:
'To understand the Christian life, imagine riding a bicycle in the middle of a two-way street heading up a steep hill. Your job is to keep the bicycle wheels on the yellow line and keep pedaling. If you veer to the left or to the right, with cars zipping past you on both sides, you're road kill. And as you get further up the hill, the forces of gravity and fatigue make pedaling more difficult (so get it out of your head that elderly people go on spiritual cruise control). The challenge continues until the end, and there is no reprieve until we finally arrive home...
'Of course, we do veer off the yellow line. Every single day. And when we do, Jesus' victory---the cross, resurrection and pouring out of the Spirit---provides forgiveness and healing. But we are nevertheless called to pedal. When our legs feel shot and we're unable to proceed, we pray for divine strength, and somehow it comes. This is God's promise: "He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).'
" There are days when the struggle feels too difficult... the burden feels unbearably heavy... . What is God's posture? What are his thoughts toward us? The old missionary from Africa came to mind. I imagined God saying: Keep pedaling, son, despite your fears. I know all the bumps in the road, and, although you falter and even wipe out, my grace surrounds you to the end."

// Chris Castaldo