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Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
By Therese Witkus
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As usual, the peaceful feelings of a weekend retreat followed me home bringing the strength of renewal. A need for sleep may have been induced by the joyful expressions of the youngbloods in the group, keeping later hours.
Unpacking went only to my toothbrush, as the skies were alight with frightening flashes and the air crashed with boisterous thunder while the wind blew torrential rains at every angle. The raindrops eventually slowed to steady and lulled the senses toward slumber. The gentle touch of a light breeze on my shoulder, ever so slightly, roused me from a tenuous sleep. Velvet night softened the awareness. A shrug pulled the blanket snug again and I settled more deeply, into that carefree, nearly dreaming, place.
The jarring ring of the alarm clock sent a shock of dismay through my foggy thoughts and seemed unreal somehow, as my mind grappled with the intrusion. I groaned at the idea that morning might already be awaiting me and then that ringing became annoying. And wait, it should be light by now even if the sun is hidden by overcast skies. The glow on the clockface clearly indicated the time to be 3:17am, not my usual hour of awakening and well before the breaking of dawn in my world.
The phone! A few one-word questions immediately raced through my mind as it jumped to alert mode. Who, what and why began the list. With a move that may be called earnest, though certainly lacking in grace, I threw the blanket off and swung my feet off the edge of the bed. What!? My feet slid into cold, moving water and by the time I was standing upright, the high-water mark reached my knees. The phone in the hallway still ringing, I had a suspicion that most of my more pressing questions had now been answered. A few remained however, and they were fitting themselves in rather nicely with the new crop growing. The one that dealt with the identity of the objects in the water with me, seemed to be a priority, followed closely by how to satisfy the need for a light source. While power would be helpful ordinarily, even a confused mind realized the danger here and refused to go any further down that road.
Reaching the phone table was quite the accomplishment, having endured the brief but stimulating, horror of stepping barefoot onto a furry swimming creature and other such incidents. The phone went dead as I brought the receiver to my ear and a fervent wish to wake from this nightmare went unheeded. Working my way around shifting, unknown objects coming unexpectedly into my path, I met other members of the household in a similar state of wonder. We gathered together and grasped the sadly meager supplies near enough to support us in the moment and headed for higher ground. We answered to calls from other households moving with the same intent.
The reason for slow progress eventually became clear, the dark of night and rushing, hazard-filled water covered the known touchstones and further confused our paths. Soon we stopped and sat atop the boundary wall, in relative comfort, actually. The stone wall, at six feet high and ten inches wide, kept our feet out of the water and offered a solid seat. Ample room remained to take on newcomers, with another half a mile of wall before the turn, where it dipped out of sight underwater.
As the night became day under heavy gray clouds, we stared out silently. Each one lost in her own inner reaction to a sea flowing where a village once lived. The great river, a good morning walk away, had never swollen and spread here, the idea had yet to be imagined yesterday. Now, only odd remnants of buildings and trees floated above the dark foreboding waters. We had been complacent and let the Word slip from our attention. “And those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” Daniel 4:37 NIV
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