Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost
OK, for sure Robert FROST (Hmmm..) lived through an ice storm. This is my second big one since moving to Kentucky ten years ago and they are, like many religious experiences, hard to describe in words.
Ice storms are sensory experiences that initiate you into a special club.. like the Hurricane Club in NJ and other coastal states, where all one had to say was, "Remember Gloria?" or "What about Hurricane Diana.." and everybody nods. Starts telling stories... All you have to say here in Central Kentucky, where certain meterological conditions make these storms a lot more likely is, "In the Ice Storm," and it was a given that you meant February 2003.
Until last week. Now 2009 will be referred to as The Ice Storm until the next big one. This time, my family was spared the loss of power, but hundreds of thousands are still without heat and electricity after a week. My son was one of those.. he's lucky. He can stay with us, no big deal. But there are elderly folks who won't leave their pets, large families with no one willing to take them all in, and, in my congregation, a couple who was delivering their third child in the hospital while their power was out at home.
But truly, Central Kentucky is in great shape compared with the western communities. Here, roads are passable and power outages are scattered enough that everyone can find a place to stay, even if it is a shelter. There, the nature of Kentucky's rural terrain, and the massive impact of the storm have rendered swaths of the state completely disabled.
I can't stop thinking about trying to help... but I don't know what to do.
Today, I will talk with some of my clergy colleagues, and perhaps we can come up with a plan. But currently, basic survival is what's needed. Getting trees out of the way so people can get help. Getting water and supplies to stranded people.
Frost was right... I've lived through fires, in California, and they have some degree of predictability and, usually, some route of escape. But ice storms, like hate, kind of sneak in during the silent night and cut you off, leave you isolated, hungry, and wounded. Like hate, and evil, they can also be extraordinarily alluring and even beautiful.
Indifference really is a form of hate.
Please pray, if you pray, for the 300,000 Kentuckians still without power.
Meanwhile, I will let you know what I decide to do.