(To go to the beginning of this story, please click here.)
… the night came, and the morning followed.
We woke up to a lovely (hot) Saturday morning. Because the windows were open (no AC or fans), the sounds of chirping birds blasted clearly throughout our house, and the sunlight streamed in….. I have never been so grateful for the sun to rise. Yay! Light! We were dependent on it.
We prepared that day to get everyone a shower at the camp area at the Shrine our deacon had suggested to us, and we packed bags full of snacks and tried to organize the order of events. So half our family went first (mainly the boys), and the other half (my half with the girls and the babies) went after we had secured everyone and everything at home. We put laundry in bags, and dishes in bins (stuff adds up fast with ten kids, ya know!) and sprayed bleach onto the dishes so that they wouldn’t attract those pesky fruit flies. The laundry…. we’re even still working on that pile today. (And we probably will be until the apocalypse 🙂 )
Now that we had resolved that we weren’t going to have power back for several days at the least, our main focus was: let’s just get out of here and go to the beautiful Shrine and enjoy the outdoors. We gathered kids’ bikes and scooters, we gathered bottles of shampoo and soap and tooth brushes, we gathered coloring books and blankets to sit on the ground with, and we gathered volley balls and flashlights and towels and whatever we could think of….. one thing we didn’t gather much of was any type of electronics. Sure I had my phone (for emergencies that I kept plugged into the van…. hey, anyone remember “car phones?!”), but the internet faded and my surroundings came into full view.
When we got to the camp site, I was so grateful for clean hot water, and light….. a place to sit, the beautiful outdoors. This unplanned weekend seemed to be telling us “you’ll be fine!” After everyone went one by one into the one shower that worked, and all the little ones were scrubbed down (so that we would all be clean for church the next day), everyone played freely.
And I needed a walk around, and I needed to talk to God.
With all the children playing at a near distance, I found a spot near an area recalling “Our Lady of Fatima” with the little children and two sheep, also carved in stone. I sat down in the hot sun between a stone child and a stone sheep “grazing,” and I just rested there…. At first, I begged in my heart, what is this all about? What are you trying to tell me, God? Why has this odd poverty thing happened to us for three years now, not even counting this electricity thing? Did we not listen to you and follow your will?!
Of course, I heard no voices, saw no visions, didn’t even have any special insight. But I did hear the quiet, the beautiful quiet of the massive trees, and the gentle breeze blowing through them occasionally. I felt like a “pause button” had been pushed in my life. Just pause and BE……
In the moment, I felt peace, a sense of the complete and utter present. Impending bills, appointments, what was in (or not in) the bank account, even the school supply lists I had been so worried about the morning before…. they all seemed to dissipate into the overwhelming beauty of the present moment. We were being cared for, like little children, dependent on someone else for survival, unable to rely on our own “power” or strength.
I’m one who likes to take things “into my own hands,” who can work it out alone if need be, who fixes things, who has determination and strong will…. and none of that worked this weekend. It was like a heavenly being was telling me “I got this. Sit down.”
A kind volunteer at the Shrine offered my children popsicles, the kids spun around on their bikes, they made jokes and we all laughed.
Exhausted, we all returned home that evening (as we have our sweet dog and our cats who need caring for), and we turned on the lanterns and the flashlights, and we realized we had “made it.”
We rested peacefully that night, all camping out in one or two rooms, children in sleeping bags in the master bedroom, no movies or screens and the familiar hum of fans…. a peaceful silence….
My extreme tiredness as I fell asleep felt like a mixture of trying to constantly corral many children mixed with emotional exhaustion. Could we even make it to church the next day, Sunday?!
(…to be continued…)