What a weekend!
This past weekend, Bucks county experienced some of the worst flooding it has seen in almost 55 years. According to the newspapers, the last time it was this bad in the area around the Delaware rivers, it took two hurricanes to generate the water that we have been experiencing with this weekend's rains, snow melt and general ground saturation. I have parishioners who have been stranded in their homes since the weekend, and many who have been affected (as Laura and I have been) by damaging waters in flooded basements, etc.
The drama began for us on Saturday as the rains peaked at our house. Laura and I had just finished lunch after I got home from the office in the morning, and had settled in upstairs to watch a movie. Fitting behavior on a lousy-weathered day. I went downstairs to check on the basement at one point, and didn't find too much moisture. The sump was working, but that was about it. An hour later, the story had changed. I went down, just about the time that the news was announcing that Pope John Paul II was dying, to check again...and found water coursing in through our basement windows. Running outside and calling for Laura, I found the window wells literally flooded with ground water. We got some pots and started to bail...then called parishioners for help. Jim Jones helped find Jerry Harbaugh and Bill Wolf, both of whom brought over pumps that helped us to clear the window wells. Jerry fetched a wet/dry vac from the church. After about three hours, the rain slacked and we started to feel confident that we had things under control. That is, as much as we could. I made a run to Home Depot after Jerry and Bill left to pick up some sumps and a new wet/dry vac for the house, and Laura and I started the cleanup. Sadly, I think our carpet is ruined. On top of that, it was daylight savings time. We lost an hour of sleep to the clock...and I lost another three or so in that every time I heard rain hit the roof or the window, I jumped out of bed to go check on the basement again.
In the wake of the experience, we have a donated dehumidifier going in the house. God, please give us a drying time!
I will say that it was an amazing experience to share our anxiety and fatigue with the congregations on Sunday. So many people came up to me to express understanding, support and mutual grief over loss. Many had sadder tales to tell of this and previous flooding experiences. It allowed me to see the wider context of loss that we all experience when "great" things happen to the community as a whole.
The towns and people living in and around the river are STILL pumping and digging out from the floods. Some places are still under water. Can't imagine the damage costs, and the loss to so many. May God keep them in some level of serenity as the days progress.
In the office and at church, things are beginning to heat up again. In the wake of Holy Week's liturgies, we now have a bundle of work to do on Annual Report/Annual Meeting and my Institution as Rector, all in early May. We also have preparations to make for the vestry retreat and staff has committed with me to a planning meeting to set the program calendar for next year. Again, busy...busy...busy.
There is a great deal that needs to be accomplished in the next couple of weeks, besides taxes! I am working with the wardens to present a good slate of candidates for election to vestry, we have had a couple of meetings so far on the liturgies around the institution and I am going to be getting in touch with deanery and diocesan people in the next couple of days to close on details of the bishop's visit on the 7th.
I have to admit to a certain amount of fatigue right now. Though I am enjoying these first weeks here in Solebury, I find myself feeling the burn of having been flat out since Palm Sunday. God willing, as the days of summer draw near, we will have the chance to let up on some of the hard push and get some time to sit back, laugh and enjoy.