Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's In There?

"Deep calleth unto deep..." Psalm 42:7

So there I was... sitting inside my house for three days, mostly alone (Tom being at work 12 hours or more each day), except for Jesus and my two cats and the assorted mice in our walls which like to tantalize those aforementioned fat, lazy cats.........there I was with no electricity all those days and feeling squeezed--and not really liking what came gushing out.

Because when you have no electricity you have, instead, a lot of time on your hands, especially when your town has a driving ban and it's too dangerous even to step outside for a walk, due to limbs falling down right off the trees. And so as you sit there in your cold home in front of a few candles, wondering if you should risk the carbon monoxide thing anyway with your kitchen stove--well, as I said, you have a lot of time to think.

And you find out what it is really, truly, like way down deep on the inside of yourself. You discover how deep--or how shallow--is your own well.

Mine wasn't as deep and bottomless as I had previously supposed.

No, I whined a lot. I complained. I murmured about the cold and the candles which I must keep lit, which felt at times rather like keeping spinning dishes balanced on sticks. I groaned about not being able to read my email or to whine to all of you here in my blog. I felt sad about the trees our community lost and got morbid pictures inside my head of a treeless Buffalo next autumn. And I was disappointed that, until 8:00 that first night, none of our friends or relatives called to see if we were still even alive ("Does no one listen to the news? Or do they just not care about us?"). Then at 8:00, my online buddy, Saija, called and restored my faith in mankind.(Though, four days later, she's still the only person who has called. Hmm.)

So much of it has to do with that old issue of control. Yes, I could have used the time to catch up on all the books and magazines I'd been wanting to read, but well, I just didn't feel like it much. I mean, the situation wasn't perfect--no perfect reading light, no perfect circumstances, no normal, usual pattern to my days. (I did reread L.M.M.'s Anne's House of Dreams by candlelight and that felt quite nice.) But still, when you can't control your situation--when you can't even make a lamp work--you see for yourself that you're not quite the it-takes-a-whole-lot-to-ruffle-my-strong-feathers person you believed you were just last week. You catch yourself acting as though, "If I can't have it my way, I don't want it at all." Or something like that.

But by the next morning, after Tom left for work and another long, quiet day began, I took myself by the collar (figuratively) and said, "Debra! You are simply NOT going to ruin today like you did yesterday. Instead, you are going to stop complaining and spend this day finding the bright side of every tiny thing."

And can you believe it? I had a much, much better day. (Who would have thought it?)

I found a local news radio station and listened to people phone in with their storm stories and I counted my blessings .... and prayed for those people whose problems were much greater than mine. And I thanked God that no trees fell on our house and that we still had hot water and a new-to-us-from-God stove top which worked. And I confess--I reminded myself that at least I didn't have a whole houseful of bored, whiney kids to keep entertained... And too, I was grateful that our daughter was safe in her home.... and I wasn't sick.... and the majority of trees surrounding our neighborhood were still standing... and we were pretty much all stocked-up on our emergency supplies.... and maybe I'd find lots of email from caring friends when I went back online.

And so it went. And so the next day went, too, and both days ended up being much better than the first. Oh, they were no picnic and I still did catch myself complaining at times, but I tried to nip each moan in the bud.

And the hours did not feel like the eternity they had been on Friday.

Complaining only ruins things. It puts clouds on what could have been a darn nice day. Feeling sorry for oneself is only pathetic, because it shows a lack of understanding that others have it much worse than I do. And it shows that my eyes are on me instead of God and the people He gives me to help.

And besides, desperately missing electricity and all the technology it brings might just be a sign that I've based my happiness a bit too much on a switch on the wall or a computer or tv screen or radio or stereo. In fact, I can just about guarantee that was true in my case. I want to get to the point--someday--where I believe with all my heart that if I just have God, everything will be all right.

And I've asked Him to lead me in that direction, even if it means sitting in the dark awhile sometimes.

Silence and hardship introduce us to our real self.

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