Saturday, December 13, 2008

When the Power Returns

Now here is when you don't need to care what you look like: when it's dark, cold, and you're in the middle of a storm. Literally. The blizzard (well, more of an ice storm) hit us Thursday late at night. At 4:46am the power went off. The cold began- both outside the house and inside.

Friday morning I stumbled around the house, in the early morning hour, dressed in pajamas (mismatched), an aqua fleece robe, and Bill's coffee-stained white robe on top of that. I looked huge, Abby told me when she woke up. I felt warm, though- and that's what mattered. We heard the sleeting ice outside and the cracking sound of falling tree limbs everywhere. It was time for a pioneer type of survival, and the three of us relished the change of pace. This is what we do best. This is something we know- how to make do in a quasi-emergency of sorts.

Bill went to the family farm to pick up our generator we had in storage. This is the generator we bought back when we built our house, our dream house- not the house we are in now, but the one we always talk about like the way fishermen talk about the one that got away.

Abby and I holed up on the couch with more blankets over us and tons of books around us. We ate chunks of cheddar cheese (opening the fridge just once, lest we lose the remaining cool air left inside) and Pepperidge Farm Snack Sticks- toasted sesame baked with a touch of garlic. Delicious. (We also found juice boxes in the pantry downstairs and brought them up to our little fort). Then we cocooned into the couch and we read. And read.

When Bill got back with the generator, he rigged up a system where we could have heat and the coffee maker going at the same time. It was around 3pm when I first got that blissful cup of coffee. Then we heard the mailman roar up to our mailbox and we looked at each other in amazement. That old adage is true about neither sleet nor snow nor rain nor hail will keep you from getting your U.S. mail (or something like that).

And guess what was in the mail? The first of those two books I was waiting for!And this is the greatest part of our whole adventure with this Northeast Blizzard- that in the midst of it all, something I waited for, something I really needed to read- arrived! I had already read through a whole novel earlier in the day and was in need of something else to read. What I had eaten for the day, so far, was crackers and cheese. Later I would eat half a baked potato for my dinner and then a piece of leftover blueberry pie. That's what I had as far as food for the stomach.

But as for food for the soul....ah, now that's another matter. This book- Think and Make it Happen- sounds so cheerful and almost shallow by its title. It might even sound, to some, to be rather carnal- as though we replace God with the power of our mind and then we are all hunky dory.

But that's not what Dr. Augusto Cury is writing about. He is intent on addressing a very sad conclusion: that humans are living way beneath our God-given potential. And when it comes to thinking correctly, you have to deal with emotions and personalities because "the mind is really our control tower- the source of every word we speak, every action we take, every emotion we feel, and every thought we have."

Now, I never consciously realized that I had an unspoken rule about which books I read when it comes to self-help; but I realized as I read the first couple pages of this book that I did have a rule- an important one- that made me continue on with a book or made me toss it aside. Here's the rule: I have to see that the motivation for the book came out of a personal experience where the author triumphed over something and thereby wanted to share with others that victory. I can't stick with a book if I read it and see pride or arrogance splayed across the page. I can't read a book if legalism or fear of transgressing a law makes the author rigidly adhere to a certain success formula and then he wants to "share" it with me, the reader.

But that's not what I saw here in this book. I saw that the author, a learned and degreed gentleman, had an experience with depression while in medical school and that it was probably excruciating. He faced something dark and bitterly cold in his soul. Maybe he wasn't at all prepared for this type of ice storm that hit him. But he was prepared, years later, to share what he learned through it all, "that when the world abandons us, the loneliness can be overcome, but when we abandon ourselves, the loneliness is almost unbearable".

Don't abandon yourself, Lauren- I whispered to myself as I read the first couple pages. I've been so frustrated lately, so overcome with a sense of feeling unable and inept. And here, when I read these words, and outside the trees kept creaking and groaning under the weight of all the ice, I suddenly realized how I don't really need answers from God as much as I need a new perspective of myself, our situation, our past, our future.

I need a pick-me-up in my spirit, the way that a fighter needs a pep talk from his trainer after a particularly long, grueling fight where he looks like ground up sausage and feels worse than that. The ice storm is about over. Power is starting to be returned to households across the area, across the state, across the entire Northeast. And power has been given even unto me, to overcome, to run and not get weary, to rise up, and to rise up again and again every time I fall.

Can't wait to start reading chapter 2. I'm restricting myself with this book: there's so much to take in that I can't race through it. I'm savoring the journey. I'm dressed for the cold. And I'm ready for the sunshine...whenever it may come.


Jennifer Holm said...

No coffee until 3pm?? I can't believe you made it! Miss you!

LAUREN at Faith Fuel said...

It's amazing how heroic I am, Jen!