When I chose to read Lauraine Snelling’s novel, Wake the Dawn, little did I know the setting would soon parallel real life. Border patrolman Ben James and physician’s assistant Esther Hanson join forces to treat victims of a vicious storm which leaves power outages, downed trees, and massive flooding. Sound familiar?
With all the recent weather news, I confess I followed the media with passive curiosity. In my head the severe storms kindled concern for those suffering in the wake of nature’s wrath, but my heart didn’t register the extent of the damage. I’d seen enough coverage of former disasters to know not everything coming from behind the microphone could be trusted.
Until my power went out Saturday morning.
Six and a half inches of snow had fallen Thursday, followed by another several inches
Friday. Saturday brought the worst—freezing rain—which caused branches to snap and power lines to fall. Without traversable roads and electricity, no traffic moved and all electric devices silenced. Amazing how deafening the quiet could be. Birds squabbled over food, trees cracked as they split, and dogs yapped to get in out of the cold.
We wrapped in extra blankets and read by flashlight. A fully charged laptop powered a ninety minute DVD. Cold sandwiches and fruit provided our meals. We were stuck, but not unhappy. Our neighbor offered an evening ride to a nearby restaurant in his four-wheel drive. Many patrons shared our reason to dine out, and together we held our collective breath every time the restaurant’s lights flickered.
In Isaiah 41:10 God says, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
When the power rallied early the next morning, I woke to the television’s blare. The digital clock flashed red from the dresser and the hall lights shone. As my foggy brain noted the time—2:07—I gave thanks for the linemen working in the cold, defying the darkness, and forgoing sleep to ensure my comfort.
Never again will I dismiss storms plaguing various parts of the country, knowing people suffer in bad weather. Physicians and patrolmen press on in spite of handicapped work environments. Linemen are doing what they do best—keeping their communities together. Even when they become characters in a well-timed book.