Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Back Door Blessings

If Back-Door guests are the best, then Back-Door blessings are even better. This is an unexpected blessing that pows you right in the kisser. You don't see it coming and in my case was, at first, painful.

On August 28, 2011, Hurricane Irene blew through NY. A NY hurricane is rare and doesn't usually make landfall.  Hurricane Irene had been predicted as mainly a wind event. We had National Flood Insurance because our home was close to the Mahwah river. When we bought our home, 28 yrs ago, it would take 5 days of rain or a tremendous snow melt to get 2 inches of water in our basement. Over time, the Town of Ramapo & Village of Montebello failed to do the proper dredging and it took just a few hours of rainfall for water to rise at the edges of our backyard. "Fighting City Hall" was futile...we were always on their "work order".

So, when the forecast called for a hurricane, we took our valuables to the second floor, lifted the furniture on saw horses, waited & prayed. Saturday night the winds howled, the rain beat mercilessly. We checked the basement on Sunday at 9 AM....the carpet was dry. We had dodged the bullet...Not!  Suddenly at 10 AM, we heard a hellish sound....crack, crack, pop! Were the basement windows shattering? No. The foundation of our home was caving in! We raced to a neighbor on higher ground. All we could do was watch. And pray. The event was over by 1 PM.
Finished Basement Before Damage
Destruction! Note the water in the clock
This story actually begins over 15 years ago. I started to pray about our retirement many years ahead of time. I don't believe in praying for a need just before it is needed. For instance, I prayed about my future daughter-in-law when my son was 14! Four sisters and my parents had moved to Florida...I dreamt of Hibiscus flowers each day. Visualization and all that. My only child had moved to Florida. I couldn't think of a better place for retirement. In 2009, my husband accepted an offer from his company and we put our house on the market. It was the midst of the housing crisis. 2,000 homes in our county were for sale. What was the chance our home in a flood zone would sell? It was a lovely Cape Cod and all who saw it thought it was "darling", but....

Nothing deterred me. All things are possible for those who love the Lord.....right? I had Masses celebrated for this intention, said novenas to every saint possible, buried dear St. Joseph in my garden AND said his novena for 6 months straight. I offered my daily rosary for the sale of my home. Certainly, the Holy Family was interceding? Every priest, nun, fellow Christian, even a Bishop or two were praying for my intention.....nothing. Silence. My family and friends continued to encourage me. Delay is not denial. But when Lord? When? I vacillated between stoic resolve and a raving maniac! I prayed just as hard for the family that would purchase my home. "God let them love it as much as we do....let them have as many happy years as we've had". There were times I couldn't pray another word....stopped praying to Let Go & Let God. That didn't I prayed even harder and well....raged a bit more. What kind of woman of faith was I?

Finally my prayers were the form of Hurricane Irene. 9 homes in a row were damaged, but ours was the only one taken off its foundation. Had the damage been less severe, we would have had to rebuild, put it on the market again....and perhaps still be there. A wonderful general contractor and a engineer, whom I had met through a church project, gave us a quote to raise our home above flood level and the cost to demolish the house totally. The cleaning out, the decision making, the FEMA paperwork was overwhelming. My health was affected. We were living with in-laws. We were "homeless" at the age of 60! What was God thinking?

He was thinking of us. He loved us more than I realized. He didn't do this, but allowed it to happen for good answer my prayers. How could I have doubted? He had it under control all along. Not just for me, but for the family who might have purchased our home. Perhaps, a young family holding a huge mortgage. Hadn't I prayed for them, too? My husband and I could shoulder this misfortune. After all, we didn't have a mortgage...we wanted to retire....we had two dear men who surprised us with an offer to buy our home (for a pittance) and would "flip" it. The money didn't matter....we wanted out. We learned God was in the details. My faith, my relationship with my husband grew stronger. When even a niggling of doubt nibbles at me...I slap it down. God always has a plan...the best plan. I just need to trust in His Divine Mercy and enjoy the ride...which took me to Florida a week before Thanksgiving 2011. I'm truly thankful, thankful for my blessings, my Back-Door blessing.
Our St. Joe home in Florida!
BTW, the builder of my new home? St. Joe...does God have a sense of humor, or what?