Lessons from the Outage

After almost seventy hours, power was restored to our neighborhood tonight.  It feels downright luxurious to recline on the couch without any fear of rapid dehydration, and I’m really not being facetious.  Today, after charging my laptop at the pool, I let Sammy watch a few minutes of a video while I took a delightfully cold shower.  When I came downstairs he was already overheated.  He was way too hot, just sitting on the couch.  I immediately put him in the car and took him to the mall.

But I haven’t just learned to appreciate A/C and cold showers, I’ve also been reminded of important truisms.  The list below is a mere sampling:

  1. I married so well.  Will got up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, as he does most days, and got us coffee, bags of ice, a tank of gas, and cash (all of which were almost impossible to come by a couple hours later).  Since we went to church on Saturday (yes, in part, because it would be nice and cool!), on Sunday morning,  Will said, “It’d be a good day for a day trip.  Where do you want to go?”  Man, am I grateful for this man!
  2. My boys can roll with it.  Certainly the complaint-o-meter did not hover at zero exactly, but it never really shot up too high, either.  They all prayed really sweet prayers about being patient, about recognizing that God was in control, and at the same time asking for the power to be returned.  Boy, am I grateful for these boys!
  3. Sammy is a gift, a very funny gift.  When you have two healthy boys and are thirty-five years old, there is a certain sense that you should be thankful and content with what you have.  And I think I was content, but I wanted another baby too.  God blessed us with Sammy, and he is such a delight for all four of us.  He is constant entertainment.  For example, a huge portion of the beautiful Bradford Pear in our front yard was taken out by the storm.  Since Sam slept through the storm and the neighborhood looked pretty unscathed except for this tree, Sammy tried to reason through this isolated loss. “Mmhh,” he said, “The tree broke off.  Maybe a big squirrel climbed out there and broke it off.”  His commentary on life adds so much!  Plus, I think he may be more prepared for Broadway than kindergarten.  He has this performance gene which was exhibited very early on and is truly uncanny.  On our day trip to Harpers Ferry yesterday, we went into a wine store.  Inside the little store was a player piano, which when fed a quarter played some kind of ragtime tune.  Well, Broadway Sam danced around the store in the most outlandishly winsome way that I had to video it.  The twenty-something behind the counter said, “That needs to be on YouTube.  Killer.”  Good gracious, am I thankful for Sam!
  4. People connect through stories.  Women sometimes bond through sharing birthing stories — if you meet another mom with a similarly harrowing “rocket bound for mars” birth experience, you feel kinship.  Big storms are the same way.  Over the last few days, greater DC has had this shared experience of a brief but powerful storm followed by an extended loss of electricity (of course, for some families there was devastating loss of life, and even a brief consideration of their sorrow puts a lack of cool air in perspective).  But you do feel connected through sharing and comparing common experiences.  One couple we talked to in Harpers Ferry was hiking the whole Appalachian Trail.  They had an eventful night, to say the least, on Friday!  Even though they were under a tarp, and we were safe inside a brick house, there’s an undeniable connection.  In this case, it was sort of a “Dude, I know!” type of connection, but it’s still something.  Plus, this hiker hailed from Grand Haven, and had a tattoo of Michigan on his calf.  I mean, Dude, C’mon!  Dude, am I grateful for shared stories! 
  5. Unplugging is vital.  I don’t watch much television.  In fact, I essentially watch none.  I’ll hang out with my boys to watch sports or an occasional episode of SpongeBob, and on very rare occasions Will and I will watch Frontline or something similar, but on a day-to-day basis I never turn the TV on.  I also don’t spend too much time in front of the computer, unless I’m actually writing.  But what I am horribly guilty of is using my iPhone a lot, and by a lot, I mean A LOT.  I check Facebook on my phone, I read the news, I email, I text — I stay pretty well connected through this amazing and unbelievably useful device.  However, with limited ability to recharge my phone over the last few days, I had to cut back on use.  It made me appreciate how great this tool is, but also how unplugging and playing cards with your kids by candlelight can be great too.  Wow, am I thankful for technology, and man, is it important to turn it off sometimes.

As Paul admonishes, may we give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5: 18).

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