On Monday, Massachusetts experienced a really ridiculous wind storm. It started up on Sunday night, went full force into the day on Monday, and got very, very serious on Monday afternoon. Gusts in the area reached upwards of 70 mph. It was cold, it was mean, it was fierce, it was chaotic. The ancient trees that surround us were not built to stand up to this sort of wind. You didn’t know whether to look up or down: up because trees and branches seemed to be calling like rain. Down because there were so many hazards to dodge on the ground.
Because last week was school vacation week, I woke up on Monday with a long list of things to do. I dropped the boys off with glee, took myself to the grocery store for a few things, then went on over to the local bookstore to pick up some books to put in the mail for two of my favorite people.
When I came home to write the notes to accompany my little gifts, there was a fallen wire across my driveway. I parked my van and went around it. Then I turned to face my house and saw the image to the left: a massive limb down from the tree closest to my house. Tangled with my cable and electrical wires, it hovered in the air, swaying in the gusts. A board of the ancient wooden siding of my home was being ripped from the house, pulled by the wires that were drilled into it.
I took my pictures and did my cursing. I called my husband and told him that he needed to come home. I walked into a house that was miraculously still warm and had internet. I called the utilities and stuff anyway.
The day continued from crazy to crazy. The Husband came home, we got on the phone with our insurance, we spoke with the utilities and the fire department… Finally, the limb came down at around 2:30, taking every wire with it.
For the second time this year, we were looking at being in a house with no heat or hot water, with darkness as an added bonus. With the wind still howling, this big problem felt very immediate, but there was still the possibility of more problems, too.
My neighbors, exceptional beyond belief, snapped us up right away. “Of course you are staying with us. Of course we are feeding you dinner. Of course we’re here to help.” I’m not sure if I wrote about this back around the new year, but they made this offer before when we blew our electrical line because of our space heaters. They gave our boys a warm, clean bed on a cold, cold night without hesitation. Here we were, doing it again. The boys brought a few toys, I packed a small bag of clothes, I gave the house a kiss and told it we’d be back.
Fielding calls and texts all day, I got a text from two wise friends, who both gave me perfect bits of wisdom, both in reaction to the same idea. I’ll share one today and one on Friday.
A dear friend texted me and asked me if I was ok. I said, “God clearly needs me to learn a lesson this year. I sure hope I learn it soon.”
She texted back: “God doesn’t provide the aggravation. He delivers the good neighbor.”
It was a striking idea and a humbling reminder that I needed. There was a crisis, but there were so many miracles. The branch fell on the wires and not on the house. The rest of the trees lost only twigs, no more major limbs. We lost power, but the house only got down to 52, which meant no burst pipes. We live next to exceptional people who took us in without hesitation, fed us two meals, and provided us with warm beds. So many good things delivered. It all seemed to come together beautifully.
I know that not all of you Dear Readers believe in God. I don’t think you have to belong to a church or a religion to experience miracles or be delivered in time of crisis. My Quiet Thoughts are on my friend’s very poignant reminder: think not of the crisis as some punishment from the higher plane. Seek instead to spot and acknowledge the deliverences, the easements, and comforts. These are the tools that lead to triumph. These are the sources for gratitude once the trial is over.
The utility company fixed our line around 2 in the morning. We woke up to all workers gone, but the mess remaining. I’m grateful for the smart school leadership that knew to get the kiddos to school without any delays so that we adults could get to work. As I’ll show you on Friday, by the time we got to dinner time yesterday, it’s like nothing had happened here.
I feel like I’m always writing in gratitude. Perhaps that’s annoying to some people. I suppose I write this way because I feel like I’m always on the receiving end of some sort of miracle, big and small. For all of my stress, my sometimes loneliness, my homesickness… I think the feeling I feel most throughout any given day is gratitude. More than ever these last few days, for sure.
I’ve spent the last two days just trying to catch up with all of the things I need to get done. Thank goodness the boys are back in school.
I’m sorry I missed Monday, but I’m sure you can agree that I had a fairly legitimate excuse. 🙂
I’ll see you Friday for the rest of my Quiet Thoughts.