5:00 AM Christmas Eve. I am awakened by the insistent ringing of the computer power systems and even before I know where I am – I know that the power is out. It feels like the bottom has dropped out of everything and immediately we are out of bed, attempting to assess what is going on, personally and professionally (as we run our own business from home.) My real, actual manic meltdown was beginning. A real mania was beginning and the meltdown was brewing.
To say that my heart sank doesn’t really express it. I am in one of several parts of the country which was recently badly flooded, and despite the fact that myself and my family were incredibly lucky (we did not lose our house and we did not lose any loved ones) we were most definitely impacted. Life in a disaster zone is not easy for anyone, no matter how “lucky” one is. And even before the disaster hit here – the last few years have brought repeated power outages such as neither I nor my husband have ever seen – extremely frequent power drops, losing literally hundreds of dollars worth of food repeatedly – over and over.
We had been looking forward to Christmas for weeks and weeks and really – all year. We had been able to purchase a few nicer-than-usual things so that we could have a really nice dinner and had structured our work as best we can so that we really finally had some free time– something that happens rarely as so called entrepreneurs.
Our phone line was out too, which means that we cannot email anyone or finish the few items of remaining work that needed to be attended to.
We sprang into action as best we could. We are fortunate enough that we now own a generator that is functional and enough extension cords that we can generally save our refrigerator and freezer, but it is neither a simple nor easy process to do, especially in the freezing cold, in the dark. Yet we did it, again, for probably the twentieth time this year alone.
And then we are sitting in the living room, and I fall apart into angry, frustrated tears. I can’t believe this. It feels like everything is ruined, and then my beloved husband turns to me and quite correctly says that I must put it in perspective.
Our house is not on fire, we still have a house. We are not burying a beloved child nor standing in the hospital with a loved ones’ health emergency. We have food to eat and much to be grateful for – even if we lose our refrigerator and freezer again. We are so enormously fortunate, even without power, he said.
In an instant, I snapped back to what I already knew, which is that he was exactly right. I needed to focus on the many, many things I have to feel grateful about, and to focus on what I am thankful for.
It is when it is most difficult to do so that we must count our blessings. It is easy to count them when the soft glow of joy is around everything and everyone, when things are going right, and when we feel content and optimistic, and what we expect is what is happening. But when the bottom feels like it is dropping out, that is when it is most crucial.
Because I was able to do what he suggested, instantly things became more bearable. Instantly, I remembered who I really am and where I really am. An hour or so later – the power and phone were both restored (otherwise I couldn’t be sharing the story.)
Any of you reading this are among the people that I am oh, so grateful for.
This was my spiritual gift that was given to me that Christmas. May it benefit any who read it.
Count your blessings long with me. If you are breathing, there are some. Focus on them. And if you need some perspective there is always someone who can help…even little ole I would try to help any of you if you reach out.