Ben is sick. I hate sickness. It puts this dark cloud over everything. The good thing is that he really has been a trooper and God has given me a lot of grace for him since being sick over Thanksgiving.
The power went out around 11 pm on Christmas Day for us. We spent that night and the following day in a house around 57 degrees. Maybe to some people that's not too bad, but for us little Arkansans we were COLD! The difficult part was dealing with a one year old who doesn't understand that getting into the fireplace is dangerous. Also the fact that Ben was sick on the couch and the kids didn't have much to do. We were burning through our firewood like crazy. The plan was to somehow go out and saw up our fallen branches in our yard and use those for kindling. Thankfully, however, Ben's parents called us around 3 in the afternoon and told us that they had power. If we could get out of our house in all the snow then we could spend the night with them.
Praise the Lord!
Then Ben became the trooper and moved the branches from our driveway. Thankfully a guy was working on fallen branches with his chainsaw just down the street and he came and made it a lot easier on us. (I don't know if we even had a saw... what were we thinking?!)
Last night we spent at Ben's parents house with another family. That's what I love about Ben's parents, they are some of the most hospitable people I have ever met. I hope we are like them someday. The next day they found out that several other friends with little ones were also without power (and probably freezing) so they invited them as well. I soon found out that my parents had just gotten power and we decided to come here since there was a bit more room.
I totally did not mean for that story to last this long. All that to say, here we are. Grateful to be in a warm house.
What have I learned in all of this adventure?
We are extremely dependent on electricity. Frighteningly dependent. I can't tell you how many times I went into a room, flipped a light switch and though, oh yeah, we don't have power. Arkansas houses are not built to be warmed by a fire. Open floor plans and vaulted ceilings do little to keep heat in a concentrated place.
Sometimes the simple things are good. It was so quiet. There was hardly any noise. The goals of the day were to keep warm, feed ourselves and just stay alive in general. Survival mode was in full swing. When the kids went down for naps Ben and I read a book by the fire (I read to him since he was ill).
So many times I think we as Americans are very "plugged in" people. We have our smart phones, our laptops our iPads ... we have TV's and computers and so many screens that we forget about the real life all around us. I fear that my children will grow up so attached to and obsessed with screens that they will miss the beauty of God's beautiful earth all around them.
I want my children to be in awe of sunsets, to notice birds and squirrels in the yard. I want them to point out pretty clouds or trees and just to notice things. The other morning in order to keep warm I washed all of our dishes by hand. I had forgotten to run the dishwasher before we lost electricity and thankfully our hot water heater still worked well. I looked up through my kitchen window and saw the bare tree limbs with ice covering them. They were beautiful. The sun was shining on them and they were waving and sparkling. I called Levi to come and see. We sat there for a few moments just on the kitchen floor, looking up at the sparkling trees.
I wonder how many times I am looking at a computer screen and miss my children's smiles. I wonder, when they think of me, do they picture me checking my phone? I'm not going to drop electronics all together, no, they are a vital part of our culture. But Lord, help me to always be keeping that in check.
Thank You Lord for these lessons. You are good.