*This is the post I had written for yesterday, but was unable to post due to power outages.
I woke this morning with a renewed sense of gratitude.
It’s the little things… Bright lights held steadily on unmoving ceiling fixtures. The way it feels to quiet a chill in the night with a warm blanket. Showers. Internet. Air conditioning. These are things I take for granted daily. This is day 3 without power, and I’m amazed (or more appropriately, ashamed) of how even the slightest inconvenience is unbearable to me.
Yes, I have a renewed sense of gratitude for these things which I barely notice each day, yet make my life easy and so much more doable. But I think even more than the conveniences of first world living, I am truly grateful for the lack of them right now.
There’s something about going through a storm – your self-centeredness seems to pause for a period of time and you really see life through a different lense.
We haven’t gone through any major tragedy here, (although we did lose our coveted orange tree out front) and I realize the last few posts, including this one, seem to be one long-winded whine after another. No, all is not lost, we are ok. Miraculously, no damage was done to our home or vehicles (though others in our neighborhood were not so lucky). We lost a lot of trees, quite a few signs and streetlights, and of course, our all too necessary power. It seems Irma was kind to us compared to others in her path.
Despite the lack of horrific circumstances, our experience with Irma has been dark enough to leave some of those nuggets of treasure that God specifically leaves visible for us only in the darkest places in life. Those gifts to remind us that even in the valley, we are never out of reach of God’s love.
As a matter of fact, besides the previously mentioned inconveniences, I dare say (not to negate the destruction this storm has caused on the lives of so many) I’ve actually quite enjoyed this pause on life.
The laughter, the conversations with neighbors I’ve never spoken to before. The joy of giving, whether helping the elderly woman a couple blocks away get her shutters up or giving water to the young couple down the street who weren’t fortunate enough to find any before the storm. Watching out for eachothers property as the threat of looters makes it’s way past powerless gate codes and alarm systems. Helping each other remove debris that clogs roads and driveways. It’s been nothing short of hellacious, but I’ve loved every second of it.
Even more than the outpouring of kindness in the community, I love that every moment with my family these past few days have been the the stuff memories are made of. I can’t remember the last time we had as much fun together as a family as we did Sunday, playing Monopoly by lantern, (which seems to be forging itself as one of our favorite hurricane party traditions) running around on the patio letting the wind and rain whip across our faces, soaking us in cold water, and eating spam sandwiches and cold beans together, so wrapped up in conversation that the grossness of the food went unnoticed.
With no T.V. to put us to sleep, I’ve been reading short stories by Stephen King out loud, by candlelight, watching each of my precious children and my strong, sweet boyfriend doze off one by one listening to my voice. There’s something special about that, that I can’t quite put my finger on.
We’ve played round after round of chess, with my son beautifully playing his keyboard in the background. We sat on the patio in the aftermath, trying to escape the trapped heat in the house, all us laughing and pushing each other in the extremely cold and refreshing pool.
We’ve enjoyed the stillness, the quietness of the world around as we sit side by side, each of our noses in a good book, enjoying the shadows of the afternoon sun, unhindered in that moment, by the increasing heat.
I could bore you all day with stories of all the gifts and treasures we’ve experienced in the last few days, but I won’t. You get the point, right?
So with a renewed sense of appreciation for what I have, and a rested soul full of glimpses of what I want to continue in the future, I praise God. I praise God for his protection, for his mercy, for his hidden treasures in the darkness! With a song in my heart, and a skip in my step, I lay my pen down for today to continue basking in the goodness of God in the aftermath of the storm.
And to keep praying for power…I think.
(Yes, praying for power, this heat is unreal!)
We have power! Unfortunately, now that I have access to the media terrorists, ahem, the news, I am seeing the massive and terrible effects this storm has had, not only on my city, but everywhere in Florida. Please keep us in your prayers! There is a lot of rebuilding to be done. Thank you for all your support!