Sunday Night Journal — July 3, 2005
Sunday Night Journal — July 17, 2005

Sunday Night Journal — July 10, 2005

You Can’t, In Fact, Always Get What You Want (Waiting for Dennis)

This is a Sunday Morning Journal. By Sunday night it’s very unlikely that I’ll have electricity, which means I won’t have Internet access. It’s possible that I won’t have a home, at least not one that is habitable without major repairs. We are waiting for Hurricane Dennis, a vicious storm, frightening not only in itself but because there has never been a storm so bad this early in the season.

Being a hundred yards from Mobile Bay, our house is vulnerable to wind, water, and falling tree damage in a hurricane. At the moment the last of these seems the most likely. As a tree lover I had never wished for fewer trees until last year when Hurricane Ivan poked a hole in our roof. I wish now I had taken the trouble and expense to have some of the trees around the house trimmed or removed. Now I can only wait. The newer suburbs, big open tracts that used to be fields or orchards but now have no trees more than twenty or thirty feet tall, suddenly look secure and desirable.

We don’t have much of a house. In a situation where we could not afford both house and location we favored—“privileged,” to use the currently popular jargon—location. The house is just a couple of steps above a trailer—small, pre-fab, low-ceilinged, built in the mid-70s, rather flimsily for its time but I’m told not so badly by current standards. I can’t say I’ve ever been fond of the house for its own sake, but it’s full of things that I value, and besides I want my grandchildren to be able to know the place where their parents spent at least part of their childhoods (we moved here in 1992). Now, like George Bailey, I’m singing a different tune and trying to strike bargains with God, just like a million or so people along this stretch of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi coastline. One thing’s for sure: we aren’t all going to get what we’re asking for.

Tuesday Afternoon Update

We were spared this time. The storm weakened considerably and went further east than intially predicted. Mindful of the ethical and theological problems raised by the fact that the storm hit someone else instead (see this item from last summer), I emphasize the sudden reduction in strength which made Dennis considerably less destructive than it might have been. My wife points out that this was the Psalm from yesterday’s Mass:

Then would the waters have engulfed us, and torrent gone over us; over our heads would have been swept the raging waters. Blessed be the Lord, who did not give us a prey to their teeth!

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler. Indeed the snare has been broken and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Our help is in the name of the Lord.


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