Everyone who is a teacher fully understands that it is not a giant leap to preach! Preachin' is just teaching punctuated with passion. Today's sermon is on the concept of free time. I laugh at the notion of FREE time. As if time were actually free. As if every minute of every day of our existence is not planned out well in advance and executed almost robotically as we spend those minutes each day. We plan meals, meetings, vacations, appointments, projects, work, play, social events and rest if there is any time left over. Time is a great equalizer. We all have the same number of minutes in each day; we just spend them differently according to our own desires. I am so ADHD that it has become a point of pride that I can do ten things at once (which is maddening to a husband who can only have ONE conversation at a time! ) Really? So what do we do when a storm blows in and cancels life as we know it and we are relegated to pioneer status? I'll tell you what we do! We complain! (QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK QUACK!) We QUACK that we can't get cool, or watch TV or cook or have a hot shower. We QUACK that the kids are driving us crazy being out of school and unplugged. We QUACK about the loss of trees and damage to property and the mess left behind. We QUACK about the food we lost in our refrigerators and freezers.We QUACK about how many hours we have been without power and how many hours remain until our estimated time of restoration. Those who are blessed enough to have one QUACK about the noise the generator is making! Y'all! What is wrong with us?
What we have plenty of is things that make our lives easier that just so happen to be powered by electricity. What we need plenty of is perspective. My mama was a genius at finding SOMETHING good even in the darkest of situations. If she were here she would remind a complainer that their house/roof/vehicle was spared when that tree fell. She would remind the ones who lost a vehicle/roof/vehicle that they were blessed that it did not fall on them and injure them. She would ask a complainer if they had calculated how many consecutive hours they had enjoyed the luxury of electricity since the last time it was out. She would basically cut off your complaining by "out-blessing" you. It was an argument you could not win. Then she punctuated her win by inquiring, "So what are you going to do?" For some, complaining is an Olympic sport, for some a stress reliever (especially if they post it out for everyone to see just how pathetic their existence really is), and for some it is a response to newly found free time! If your power has been restored, did you pick up and go on about your busy existence checking off things from your to-do life, or did you look around you and note that you were more blessed than some who are still waiting? Did you offer to help anyone? Did you open your home to refugees fleeing danger? Did you serve a hot meal to a stranger? Did you work in a storm shelter? Did you serve coffee and doughnuts to first responders? Did you offer to work overtime because your place of business was short staffed? Did you take your chainsaw around your neighborhood helping others get trees out of the road? Did you help an elderly neighbor pick up the debris in her yard? Did you take pet food to the places sheltering lost pets? Did you take your generator to someone without power? If you couldn't serve others, did you donate $5 to the relief effort? If you did, GO YOU! (My mama would be so proud!)
Do you know what Irma blew in here for me? She gave me an unscheduled, unplanned, un-orchestrated WEEK. Not just a snow-day, but a WEEK. A week that if I had known about it in advance, would have no-doubt been planned and executed according to the plan. She gave me many opportunities to serve others. I find more stress relief in baking cookies than in complaining so I commenced baking and frosting since my power was spared. She gave me a chance to share my electricity with people who were without. She gave me a chance to make a meal for friends. She gave me a chance to chase power trucks and give cold drinks and cookies to linemen who were working non-stop. She gave me a chance to do laundry to people who are traveling from out of town. She gave me an opportunity to spend time with my family. She gave me a chance to catch up on my laundry and read for pleasure. She gave me extra minutes to plan recipes to share on this blog. She gave me a chance to sit in my porch swing and count my blessings. She gave me a chance to see the best in humanity; strangers helping strangers. Would I have done all that if this had been a regular work week? Nope. So, I am thankful for devastating storms in my life.