Friday, July 6, 2012

A Power Outage & Lessons Learned




Well, I survived the great Power Outage of 2012. I discovered things about myself in the last few weeks, and one of them is that without the circumstances of the last two years, I would have been an utter brat about things. But circumstances in my life leading up to the event led me to rather enjoy the crazy storm we had on June 29, the 5 subsequent days without power & the return to life as normal.


Here are couple of things I walked away from 5 days without power, huddled with my parents in a basement that grew steadily more uncomfortable.

** There are things we take for granted in this life in a first world country and we don't think about it until it is absent. Electricity is one. All the things we depend on - cool air to escape heat, hot showers, light, and many other things.

** These luxuries are not for everyone in the world, as I've seen in Nicaragua & Nepal in the last 18 months.  Every cold shower, every sweltering moment in the heat of a brutal summer, and every darkened night reminded me of the boys and girls I played with in the dirty, dusty ground of Nicaragua's House of Hope or on the rooftops of the Tibetan Trust Home in Pohkara, Nepal. It reminded me that there is no room, NONE at all, to complain about a few short days like this when there are people living in it daily.

**My parents have been married for something like 40 years or so. They love each other still. They love us (the kids and grand kids) too. My brothers & I get along, My sisters in law are beautiful and lovely women who we welcome into our family as if they are part of us because they are. It was not uncomfortable to share my personal apartment space with both my parents, my brother & wife, and my nephew for hours on end with nothing to do but talk, or read or just be silent. I'm thankful for a family that is not the kind where drama or dysfunctional relationships destroy family gatherings.

** Social Media was an interesting element to this power outage. While people lost power, not everyone lost cell service, so there was a lot of interaction on Facebook & Twitter. Lots of updates on power restoration, what people were doing to survive, the provisions in the community through Liberty University (what turned into the local rescue location), weather updates, etc. It was a crazy thing to be sitting in my basement & in communication with several people making sure my sweet friends were ok and surviving the heat with small children. I was thankful for that.

** Interestingly, our Children's ministry was focusing on the concept of "being still" with God - from Psalm 46:10 this month. This was taken into extremes when we lost power and ability to fill our days with 'noise' - no tv, no internet, no music....silence. Lots of silence. It was good for my heart, good for being still. I prayed for people I care for more than I had in months, because of the time freed up. It was a glaring indictment on my poor time management, that's for sure.

**Speaking of time in silence, I am thankful for finding a place of peace in my heart and mind that allows me to be able to be alone with myself in quiet and rest without needing to do something to not have to deal with being me. I do not need to escape me by busy-ness, activity or 'noise.' I'm thankful for what God has done in my heart in this.

**Recently, I've made a decision that no one or nothing can have my happiness. It is mine and mine alone. I will have it, no matter the day. Because of that frame of thinking, even 100 degree weather, sweating and such made my days in the bat cave lovely, and reasons to be thankful. :)

** I was thankful for cold showers, friends offers of hospitality, the body of Christ BEING the body of Christ, prayers from states away, scads of time for read, my sweet mom and dad, reasons to be distracted by other things we have coming towards us in the coming weeks, etc. There was so much to be thankful for and I am still grateful for our five days without power.

I spoke with a sweet friend last night and this whole week has been a timely reminder that we are not in control of our lives, but our responses are ours to make and we can lean into being more like Christ, or we can be miserable. A heart full of gratitude is a heart that is more like Christ with every breath. 


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