Monday, November 7, 2011

To Be Or Not To Be?

That, apparently, was the question that Autumn was unable to answer this year. It was uncharacteristically late due to an unusually hot September. As of October 22nd, not all of the leaves had changed, and most of the trees were fully leaved. Even my hydrangeas were still blooming!
We basically live in the woods. Trees surround everything. Fully leaved trees are pretty to look at, but are not so great for holding wet snow. I am sure you've heard about the epic Nor'Easter that hit us on October 29th. This was my yard one week after I took the above photos.
Accumulation-wise, the storm wasn't too bad for us: only 10" of snow. The problem was that the snow was really wet and heavy. Snow literally brought down branches and whole trees all over town. I'm talking BIG trees. Trees destroyed cars, crashed into houses, tore out power lines, and blocked roads. For some people, the property loss was substantial. Electricity was not restored for many people for nearly a week. Some people living in remote areas still do not have power. These are the only two photos I was able to get after the snow melted, and they show only minor damage.
Comparatively, we fared quite well. We lost a few trees but they did not damage anything. We only went without power for 72 hours. Although 46 degrees never seems very cold to us when that's the outdoor temperature, it felt bone-chilling when it became the indoor temperature. We have a well and a septic tank, which meant no water, no toilets, nada. (There's no danger of me ever wanting to go camping again in anything other than a motor home. I definitely prefer heat and a flushing toilet. LOL)

Thankfully, Brittany's power was restored within 18 hours. She invited us to stay with her. So we packed up the three dogs and off we went. The mother and sister of Keaton's girlfriend joined us. Unfortunately, I had a pretty bad allergic reaction to Brittany's cat. So Rick and I packed up the dogs and returned to our cozy 46 degree house.

Our power was restored late Tuesday night. By Thursday, our cell reception was fully functional again (the local cell tower had been hit by the storm). On Friday, our cable was finally restored. My hubby and kids call me iGiffy because I am such a technology nerd. It's a nickname well deserved. Nearly a week without internet made me feel like Wilma Flintstone. So not my yabba-dabba cup of tea. (Though I do relate to her fiery red hair!)

By Saturday, life was feeling normal again. Then I was hit with one of my worst ever "chest attacks." The short version of a long story is that intermittently for the past 27 years, the sphincter at the bottom of my bile duct spasms and causes my bile duct to triple in diameter. The result is intense pain and a crushing pressure. For the first 10 years I would go to the ER and they would pump me full of pain meds to tide me over until the attacks would end. Then one time I had an anaphylactic reaction to the meds, so I can no longer take narcotics of any kind. Anyway, I was a mess on Saturday. I was sobbing and rocking as I tried to deal with it. Rick wanted to take me to the ER, but I knew that there wasn't anything that could be done for me. Rick desperately wanted to do anything to help me. I asked him to just hold my hand and pray for me.

Sometimes life can be difficult. Sometimes life can be overwhelming. Sometimes life can be painful. The point of this post is not to prompt you to feel sorry for me. I honestly do not feel sorry for myself. I know that God's presence and blessings are abundant even in the midst of painful circumstances. Through the storm, I learned to appreciate even the smallest of things such as a flushing toilet. I learned that I really can make do with a whole lot less than I have. I was reminded that God has provided me with everything I need and so much more, all of which I should appreciate more and cling to less. I also got to witness Brittany's heart in action. Of course I already knew that she is a wonderful daughter, sister, mother and friend. But I saw her extend His hand to others with abundant grace and hospitality. I feel so blessed to be her mother and friend. 

When I had my "chest attack," I was once again reminded of Rick's Christ-like love for me. I know that he loves me. Every day, I see that he loves me in how he treats me, speaks to me, and cares for me. But I saw the pain on his face as he watched me suffer. I truly believe that his pain was deeper than my own. He would have laid down his life for me right then and there. I simply could not be more blessed.

So the point of this post is to encourage you to step back and consider your own circumstances and to realize that God's presence, provision, love and blessing can be found in any situation. All we need to do is open our eyes and focus on Him.

This song was being sung as we walked into church yesterday morning. It's still playing in my heart and head.

"10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)"
(Copyright Matt Redman)

Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name 

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning 
It's time to sing Your song again 
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes 

Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger 
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name 
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name 
I guarantee that the storms of life will come and go for all of us. But I also guarantee that His presence, provision, love and blessing will last forever. And so I sing like never before...

1 comment:

arlene said...

Sending you big hugs, hope you're on the mend. So sorry I missed the storm (NOT) I was enjoying warm sunny weather in Cayman when it hit.

I can't imagine you going that long without your electronics, LOL! What a bummer about the cat reaction it would have been excellent "adventure" otherwise i'm sure.

There is absolutely nothing worse than being cold with no way to warm up. I'ld give up food before freezing, but at least you did better than some.

Off to finish packing for an extra long weekend in Washington DC & Richmond VA. Combination mini vacation and a family wedding.

Miss you bunches and we need to plan a date before the holidays are in full swing. Call you when I return. HUGS!!!