Lately I have been remembering the days in 2008 when Hurricane Ike blew through the Houston area. Most Houstonians left town, but pastors are like ship captains: we have to be the last people off the ship. If a general evacuation has not been ordered and any of our flock are still in town, we have to stay.
Those were tough days. I rediscovered that without electricity, America is like a third world country. I also relearned how many modern conveniences we take for granted: ice cubes, warm shower water, air conditioning, refrigeration, the internet.
But many good things happened as a result of Ike. I discovered neighbors I had never known. Because we had a common enemy, the storm, strangers instantly bonded and helped one another. We cooked together, shared our meager resources, and told one another secrets -- like where to find gasoline and ice.
In some ways I was disappointed when the electricity came back on. Normalcy quickly made us forget to be grateful for simple blessings and what it means to be a good neighbor.