It was the ninth month and the king was sitting in the winter apartment, with a fire burning in the firepot in front of him.
- Jeremiah 36:22
They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
the wild animals all winter.
- Isaiah 18:1-10
Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
- Hosea 6:3
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
- James 1:2
For those who wondered why I did not respond to comments made about 10-11 days ago, I was digging out from a winter storm and waiting for power to be restored. We have unlimited data and 5G om our phones, but we had no way to reach the Internet. The cellphone signal was too weak. The roads were covered in ice. So, we just “enjoyed” an unplugged day.
The book of James starts off with us counting it all Joy when we experience trials. It is funny how you do not even notice that you are in a trial if you start off with the thought that God has already taken care of this.
The power went out a few minutes after midnight. I know because it was about fifteen minutes past midnight that I noticed that the funny popping noise that I was hearing was the check valve on my CPAP mask popping against the valve seat. The valve, a thin strip of plastic, never completely closes when the fan is running. It took me minutes of hearing the noise before I realized that we had no electrical power. I took the CPAP off and stared at the ceiling. I fell back to sleep for a little while and then got up to let the power company know. Their prerecorded message was “widespread power outages. Crews working around the clock. Apologize for the inconvenience. Press 1 if you want to hear the message again.” I did not want to hear that message again. They “always” give an estimate of when power will be restored. Not giving an estimate left me without hope – hope in the power company, that is.
I moved to the recliner in the living room. I got a thick, heavy blanket. I cocooned myself, and I played games on my tablet until my eyes got heavy. I then drifted in and out. Without the CPAP, deep sleep was probably not going to reappear. I only got about an hour of sleep that night. And amazingly, as the day of no power continued after getting up, I did not feel drowsy.
What made it a wonderful day? Without power, my computer time was limited to battery life, but without the Internet, my file access was limited and no online research. I moved to the kitchen table, with the sun coming through the sliding glass door. I brought books up from the basement, two at a time, to do research the old-fashioned way. I also prepared my Sunday school lesson.
My wife, without a television to watch constantly, she came to the kitchen table. We needed matches to light the gas stove, but we had “heat” and a means of making coffee for her. She did her Sunday school homework. She did some light reading.
And we both engaged in conversation. It had been her brother’s birthday the day before and he was refusing to answer the phone. While I finished my notes for Sunday school, she called her brother’s wife, and then he quickly called my wife back, almost immediately. We laughed about how we was finally getting to be well-trained in his old age – my wife’s only older brother.
We had more together time than we have had in years, that is in one day. My wife started, after a full night’s sleep, complaining about how cold it was and then later thanking me for the “lounging coat” that I had gotten her a couple of years ago, basically a very thick blanket with a hoodie and pockets. She did not think it fashionable, but with it so cold inside the house, mid 50s Fahrenheit and dropping, her ugly coat had a kangaroo style pouch to warm her hands and carry tissues and her cellphone. And it was thick and warm, that is if anything could be warm at such temperatures. So, no thank you a couple of Christmases ago for this ugly whatever it is to “this is the best present ever!” Context!!
As it was, I researched for three posts. I cooked a meal. I shoveled snow on three sides of the house, chiseling ice also. I recharged the tablet using the SUV, the tablet that I drained playing games in the middle of the night, while I warmed the SUV and removed the ice and snow from the vehicle.
And then as the sun went down, I decided to winterize the house. We would lose so much heat that second night, even colder than the night before – just very little precipitation – I was afraid that the pipes would freeze. I discovered that the shutoff valve for the water to the house is broken. I called the landlady to explain that the pipes might freeze, and I had done everything I could to prevent it. She got off the phone, knowing that a nearby hardware store stayed open late to buy a kerosene heater for the most vulnerable pipes (and a room that we could stay in to get warm), but as soon as we hung up, the lights came back on, eighteen and a half hours after we lost power. Actually, one light came back on. We have been through power outages before and the adage is true that all your lights come back on – nearly all, because you test the switch and forget to turn it off, since without power it does not matter. In this case, my wife left one switch in the on position, just so that we did not miss the return of power. I quickly called the landlady back. The kerosene heater might be a must the next time, but she had time to search for the best price. But getting the shutoff valve fixed would be the smarter approach.
All in all, a cold day, but a good one. And the power came on in enough time to do some editing and respond to comments.
The author of James was right. We can count it all Joy when we suffer, and it sometimes does not even seem to be suffering.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.