It’s been one of those weeks.
Last Friday at midnight, a windstorm hit Omaha (my hometown) and knocked out power to 190,000 residents. Wind gusts were recorded as high as 95 mph. My neighbor’s tree succumbed to the wind, falling across the power and phone lines, and I didn’t have power for days. You can see the aftermath in the photos above.
You find out how soft you are in situations like that.
You also find out how many great people you have around you. One friend allowed me to store some of my medicine in his refrigerator. He also provided two rechargeable lamps, a rechargeable radio and two battery packs. Another friend came over and picked up some of my food so he could store it in his freezer. Another friend allowed me to store more food in his freezer. A family member came through with a generator. And several others have called to see if I needed anything.
Truth be told, I’m writing this earlier in the week, so I’m not sure how many days I’ll go without power, but I can hear the hum of the generator just outside my window. My window AC unit is cranking out cold air. My phone and tablet are charging. And I don’t think I’m going to lose any of my medicine or food. I’m even sipping coffee.
It’s all almost too overwhelming to consider.
There’s a scene in a novel called “Out of Canaan” by Jan Karon. Father Tim, an episcopal priest who lived most of his sixty-plus years as a single man, had just recently married. He’s driving through his small town with his dog by his side one day and he spots residents simply living their lives – stocking the bakery, dining outside, making deliveries – and a truth bomb from his upbringing drops on him:
“Count your blessings, his grandmother had told him. Count your blessings, his mother had often said.
“He eased around the monument and headed west on Lilac Road.
“Did anyone really count their blessings, anymore? There was, according to the world’s dictum, no time to smell the roses, no time to count blessings. But how much time did it take to recognize that he was, in a sense, driving one around? Hadn’t Harley Welch just saved them a hundred bucks, right in his own backyard?”
Later, while he’s running an errand, Father Tim is thinking about a quote from Patrick Henry Reardon.
“‘Suppose for a moment,’ Reardon had said, “‘that God began taking from us the many things for which we have failed to give thanks. Which of our limbs and faculties would be left? Would I still have my hands and my mind? And what about loved ones? If God were to take from me all those persons and things for which I have not given thanks, who or what would be left of me?’”
Father Tim set his hand on his dog’s head and began to literally count his blessings, starting with his dog.
As I sit here in the dark, while listening to the hum of a generator that is allowing me some of life’s simple pleasures, I’m going to take some time and count my blessings too.