Saturday, December 23, 2006
Reading by candlelight isn't that bad. Abe Lincoln used to do it all the time. It's not that different than reading in the dark with a flashlight. This is something I suggest people try at least once in their lives. However, try to make sure that you have a source of heat nearby other than the candle, because reading by candlelight while holding on to a blanket that is keeping you from freezing is very difficult to do.
My father might not be a very intelligent man, but he is incredible nonetheless. I respect him even more than I did just a month ago. He lives every moment as a Gethsemane and doesn't even realize it.
Parents worry about their children. Children relieve their parents anxieties through the peace they have. If children have no peace, parents have none either.
Driving a car that looks like a light-blue golf ball isn't all that bad.
Monday, December 18, 2006
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
I’m usually a pretty easy-going person. Even though I plan and try to prepare for things (I am an Eagle Scout after all), the above verse became more significant to me a couple weeks ago. About two weeks ago at I was awaken by a large, thundering sound. Everything outside was covered in ice and since that night tree branches and power lines had been falling. The sound of thunder that jolted me away from my peaceful slumber was the sound of part of a tree falling and landing outside. The tree landed right in front of the house and part of it was lying on my car. We could barely open the front door. Taking my Mag Lite, I went outside and investigated the car. It didn’t look like any of the windows were damaged, but I did see that some power lines were entangled with the tree. I came back into the house and crawled under the covers and went back to sleep.
In the morning we went outside and accessed as much of the damage as we could. In falling down, not only did the tree knock some electric lines down, it also ripped the phone box out of the side of the house. I really couldn’t see how damaged the car was because the tree was lying on top of it. I needed to see how bad things were because that car is my only form of transportation. We had some people who could cut the tree, but they were going to touch it until the power lines were out of the way. The phone company was also contacted, but they said they couldn’t do anything until the tree was moved. So, everything depended upon the power company coming and getting the line off the top of the car and out of the tree limbs. They had already been called at when the ginormous piece of lumber first fell. I called them later that evening just to make sure.
Two days later I was still in the same predicament. The electric company was called again and I was told that crews were on the way and everything was being done as quickly as it could. It was frustrating because I had cleared all the debris I could and there really wasn’t anything else I could do. Living without electricity was challenging, but was something that could be dealt with. But we couldn’t move the power line ourselves and we couldn’t do anything else until that was taken care of. It wouldn’t be until a total of 4, almost 5 days had past before some people from the electric company came and moved the wires. Electricity wasn’t restored until a day after that (though I know some places went a total of 10 days without).
In that time, the verse from Matt. became a very real and tangible part of my life. It would have been so easy just to get upset and mad about everything, but I didn’t. There was enough in each day itself to do that I couldn’t worry about tomorrow. I tried to live the days moment by moment. After doing everything that could be done and waiting for electricity return, I did have a sense of calm I had not expected. Sure it was frustrating at times, but the justifiable anger and rage that I could have felt, I did not. There was enough trouble in just trying to stay warm and keep busy without worrying about things I had no control over. It might not be easy to do, but taking things moment by moment and day by day sure beats incessantly worrying about things beyond your control.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The past week has been a very long week for me. It has been a trying time, a growing time, and a learning time. The never-imagined and unexpected both became real. Some of it has been rather shocking. Most of it has been exciting. Some of it has been very challenging. Nevertheless, even amidst the new obstacles and difficulties that have presented themselves, I am grateful and have found love, peace, and joy. Life truly is a journey and even though the bad stuff is never pleasant, it makes me remember what a glorious adventure I am living.
I have several things I wish to write about and explore that have happened the last few days. I won’t be able to get to them all at once. So, I’m going to break them into smaller pieces. I’ll start at the beginning.
Last week, November 30th, was my birthday. Also, I almost died last week. Put the two things together for a really exciting statement: I almost died on my birthday. Well, not exactly on my birthday: it happened a few hours later, but it was close enough to say I almost died on my birthday.
I went to bed that night to the crackling of solid objects freezing and ice-laden tree branch-bombs falling from the sky. The closest I’ve ever been to being in battle is on a paintball course, but my Dad said all that ice and all those trees falling sounded like combat gunfire. It was a little frightening, but I found it more thrilling than frightening. I love storms and saw a side of nature that I really hadn’t seen before.
Anyway, the electricity went out long before I went to bed, but even without any heat I slept soundly. Once I get to sleep, I rarely wake up—one time when I was a kid our entire block was almost evacuated because of the burning of the township building down the street; there were fire trucks, police, ambulance, etc. but I slept through the whole thing. However, around four in the morning on the first day of December 2006, I was awoken by what sounded like Thor’s hammer pounding the Earth. Turns out, about half of this giant tree next to the house had collapsed beneath the burden of the ice it was carrying. It was too dark to see how much damage it had caused, but the tree was lying across the front yard and we could hardly open the front door.
I went back to bed, but didn’t get much sleep after that. Sometime near dawn my Dad and I went out into the freeze to check things out. The tree knocked a corner of the house away. Also, part of the tree landed on my car. There were a lot of dents, but surprisingly none of the windows on the car were broken.
But, here’s the real kicker: the tree should have landed on the house, but it didn’t. The tree should have crashed into the room in which I was sleeping and killed me, but it didn’t. I studied physics once and have had experience up to pre-calculus in mathematics. Even given the force of the wind that night and the extra weight of the ice, there is no worldly rational or logical reason why that tree didn’t crash into the house and land on top of my head. That tree fell hard, too; it’s been chopped up and taken away as firewood and lumber now, but the yard is riddled with foot-deep holes where some of the branches jolted themselves into the frozen soil and I’ll never get all of the dents out of the car. After studying the scene that morning, I found myself amazed. I could have died that night, but I didn’t. There are those that will scoff, but I know that the hand of God was involved, protecting me as I slept. That truly is the Peace that transcends understanding.