Friday, November 2, 2012

The Trip Out of Frankenstorm: Part 2 (Turning Point)

Monday morning (Oct. 29), I received a call that my rescheduled flight was canceled due to the storm.  I stayed on the phone for about 2 hours to get a live person to reschedule it again for Tuesday night, and I canceled all my lessons for Tuesday.

My nephew Dez waddled into my room with his blankie and pacifier, and we played for a while.  He is a techie genius, able to navigate my iPhone with incredible precision for a 2-year-old!  I had bought him a sock monkey the night before that sang "Can't Touch This" by M.C. Hammer, and Dez would laugh hysterically when he pressed the button for the sock monkey to start dancing like a maniac.  I usually only get to see Dez twice a year, so spending this extra bonding time with him was such a gift!

After a while, my brothers and I looked out the window and could see the clouds getting darker and gathering closer together.  We were on the 51st floor of Peter's apartment building, which gave us incredible views of lower Manhattan and parts of New Jersey.  Peter and I joked that we would be citizen journalists that day, posting pictures on Facebook so everyone could see real time events.

We turned on the TV and watched the reports that said the storm would get worse around the afternoon/evening, so we decided to go out and walk around a bit to get some fresh air.  It was about 10am at the time.  Dez loved walking the streets of New York and dancing in the blowing wind!  We were amazed at how empty the streets were; barely anyone was driving or walking.  You could stand in the middle of the street and it would be several minutes until you saw a car come through.

We ended up going back to our favorite place to eat: Korea-town.  Korea-town in New York is heaven on earth for me; it offers different Korean restaurants- Korean BBQ, dumpling houses, soup/tofu restaurants, Korean bakery and dessert shops- anything and everything Korean for several blocks straight!  Most of K-town was open and had power, so we went to a place known for its soups, perfect for the weather.

When we left lunch around 12:30pm, the wind had definitely picked up and it was now raining pretty hard.  We walked about 5 minutes back to Peter's apartment and went straight to the big windows to get the larger view.  I was surprised to see how close the clouds were to the buildings, and it looked like they were coming right at us.  We heard that the wind was traveling about 75-80 miles an hour, and saw on the news that a crane on one of the buildings 20 blocks south of us had snapped in half, dangling precariously off the top of a high rise condo.  As the news anchor was outside explaining the situation, the windows in the car next to her suddenly shattered from the wind.  My mind tried to register that the wind was really that strong, and I looked at the floor to ceiling windows in our apartment with a bit more trepidation.

At about 2pm, Dez needed to take a nap, so we all went to our separate rooms to rest a bit.  I couldn't get myself to sleep at all.  I kept looking out the window, watching the clouds begin to snake through the buildings and whip around the patio furniture on the rooftops.  The clouds were so thick that they would cover the visibility of the buildings as it got closer.  I could no longer see the World Trade Center towers anymore or New Jersey, and my view of the city was cut in half.  That's when it suddenly occurred to me that I might not make it out of New York.  That thought began to spiral into a storm of its own, picking up speed with questions about what my kids would do without me, how I would say good-bye to the people I love, if I had lived my life to the fullest, what would death actually look like if the storm broke this building in half and my body went flying out in the streets of NY. . .

In tears, I prayed to God to help me with my fear, and He did.  I felt Him say to me, "I am bigger than this storm."  I smiled when I realized that was true; He IS bigger than this storm!  There was no need to bargain for my life, "If you get me out of this, I will commit to ____."  If He wanted me to be in this storm, He would be the one to take me out of it, in His way, in His time, in His power.  In my heart, I came to terms with the fact that I'd be going home: either to my heavenly home or to my earthly one.  I didn't need to fear because I knew where I was headed and my hope rests in the One who created my life and can take it away.

From that point on, I looked at the storm in awe and wonder, not with fear.  I saw it as a testament of God's incredible power and strength, and it allowed me to worship Him through the storm.  I remembered the famous line in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Mr. Beaver answers little Lucy's question about the King of Narnia, Aslan.  She asks if he's safe, and he replies, "Safe?  Who said anything about safe?  But he's good."  I thanked God that He is good, all the time, and that if these were indeed my final hours, I was grateful to be with my brothers, sister-in-law, and nephew, in this 3-bedroom apartment in NYC all to ourselves, with the wide views to see His awesome handiwork in the sky.  I could feel His presence with me, more than I had ever before.

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