It was warm yesterday, and the sun is already out this morning. Most Houston homes have wet carpet on the driveway and the mold is already growing on wet sheetrock, as frozen pipes burst and filled homes with cold water. Saturday the plumber who finally arrived to fix my pipe and restore water to my house told me he was using the last of the supplies in his truck. He used his last invoice to bill me and said he’d worked for 3 consecutive days and was going home.

Texas authorities have ordered 13 million people, nearly half of the population of the nation’s second-largest state, to boil tap water before drinking it because low water pressure could have allowed bacteria to contaminate the system. Several of the largest medical center hospitals had no running water for days and you can imagine the conditions that prevailed. There are literally millions of individual dramas playing out.

So far we know of 70 people who froze to death in their homes, but the death toll will mount. In the days to come there will be a lot of discussion about state energy policies that re-routed funds away from reliable and sufficient natural gas, closing plants, laying off workers and neglecting distribution lines, in favor of wind turbines that froze and solar panels that were covered with ice.

In the meantime, my thanks to the many of you who have sent messages of support and sympathy. It will take time for operations, much less life, to return to COVID-19 normal. This is an opportunity for us to get to know our neighbors and help each other, and there are always blessings that come from that.