Sunday, September 4, 2011
After Irene...Give Yourself a Break, Already!
I will go backwards...Today, we went to church. I would rather say, "We went to hang out with others who believe in Jesus", but that sort of comes across like, "The Church of The Holy Reformed Believers of Antioch in Christ Jesus the Nazarene"...so to keep it simple, I just say, "I went to church".
We didn't have to go to church because we don't believe in 'have-to's' anymore...We do believe in making the best choices to help us stay close to Jesus, however, and we have found that meeting with other Christians regularly helps us keep flowing rather than slowly becoming stagnant. We get verbal reminders, which really are helpful, by the way, of who we are in Christ Jesus. We get to sing LOUDLY with other people singing loudly to music loud enough to let us all sing loudly, which I love to do-which is why you'll rarely find me choosing to attend a quiet church. I respect and even adore quietness, but I have found I need both and if the loud expression is not accepted, well, like I said, it won't be a willing choice of mine. ...But, I ramble...
But as much as I enjoy the music, the worship, the Word shared, the laughter, the relationships and the teaching of things I didn't know, even after these many years of Christianity, my physical body rebelled this morning. My husband's did, too...he told me so later...falling asleep, yawning.
No, we were not bored.
We were tired.
And my husband, being kind, took me to dinner after church. We ate thin, cracker-crust pizza and salad and drank tea and even shared a dessert, and I never once, not once, considered whether what I was eating was good for me or not. And I craved the chocolate, which I NEVER do, which makes me think I must be getting closer to menopause than I realized...but again, I ramble...
And we came home, and here we've been all afternoon and will probably stay tonight. And I am very, very glad and thankful to have a day such as this.
...Backing up a day...
Yesterday, I cared for a grandchild that wasn't able to stay her usual days with us for childcare due to the fact that we had classes to teach this past week. She missed us and we missed her and it worked out for her to spend Friday night. So, the night behind us, we fixed chocolate pancakes for breakfast, picked up the house, picked up the milk from the delivery missed Thursday and waited for my husband to get home from helping one of our daughters with her purchase of a new car. (THAT took FOR. EV. ER.) We watched a lot of cartoons, colored...and finally went shopping for a school dress. By the time hubby (Papa) was able to join us, it was time to take granddaughter home, about 45 minutes away, and we have to go through a bridge-tunnel to get there. More often than not, it's traffic-jammed. But fortunately, getting her to her parents was not a chore. Getting home? About 2 hours of snail-paced traffic due to one disabled vehicle.
Home at last, we crawled to our beds. We didn't even realize until this morning that we'd left the front door unlocked and bedroom windows wide open. I'm pretty sure I slept without moving. In fact, Jim closed the bedroom windows this morning and I never heard a thing. Sorry for the image, but I can't help but reflect on the fact of how easy it would have been for someone to steal all my belongings and kill me without my ever knowing it until after waking up dead. I don't think people should be that tired.
Let me remind here that I'm going backwards in time...The grandchild who stayed with us is used to staying when there are three others here as well. Her staying here alone meant no company in another room, or another bed, and that meant her sleeping between my husband and I. As much as I love, love, love cuddling w/my grandchildren, it is not conducive to sleep. So, I cuddled a while, fell asleep briefly, woke around midnight with 4 inches of bed before landfall, got up and planned my daughter-in-law's baby shower. I did get back to bed somewhere between 4 and 5 a.m...so that gave me a few hours of sleep before our little Rooster-Girl decided it was time for us all to rise and shine.
The day before that was Day 3 of our CPR/First Aid training class, the first time we had taken our equipment to another location and taught class together. It was good, but this is our new business and needless to say, we were stressed. We had great students, and received great evaluations from them, so it was a blessing, but a tiring one. That day was also the last day of our not having power after Hurricane Irene. You know that was great to come home to-but there was so much to be done, and Jim had his first class of the new semester to attend, so while he wore himself out there, I wore myself out here getting as much as possible back in order.
Going back further...we were dealing with Irene. Her winds, her rains. A leaking roof, wet ceiling, wet floor. No power even before the rains and winds got bad. A generator that didn't want to work.
To counter this, I HAVE to input, the leaking roof revealed itself at an ideal time...We were about to put down new flooring in that room! Because our power is on a different transformer than our neighbor's and because God gave us a very kind and respectful young man for a neighbor, he ran an extension cord from his home to ours and offered his brand-new generator for our use as well.
So, we were without power, yes. But we were not completely and totally without. We were blessed to already have a 2-burner gas camp stove, so I could cook...sort of. We have a gas water heater and city-pumped water, so we could still take hot showers. This all took place at the end of August, normally, the hottest time of the year in our area...but our days maxed out with temps in the 80's and several nights were in the 60's. I can't even begin to say what a blessing that was. My husband, for years, has collected oil lamps...Obviously, they were a blessing. We didn't want to light our house up in the usual way, (it's so much different when you're concerned about using up your neighbor's electricity and raising his power bill), so once night fell, our lamps were in much use.
But nearing a week of cooking on mostly one burner because 2 pans wouldn't really fit on the stove at once, weariness of this semi-pioneer lifestyle set in. We wearied of lamp-lighting, having cords strewn throughout the house, unplugging this to be able to plug in that, not being able to see well in the bathroom, (and therefore being shocked when finding several noticeable hairs on my chin while in the bathroom at work...and no tweezers), lights too low for book-reading without pain, and yes, I'll admit it, no Netflix, computer access, etc, etc, etc...It's easy to understand why pre-electricity peoples went to bed early...It's too boring to stay up.
For those having never dealt with a hurricane, there are a few things needing explaining. While it is wonderful that they can be predicted, unlike tornadoes and earthquakes, bear in mind that predictions are sketchy until the day before, at best. And so, usually, residents of the East Coast, especially from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic states and those on the Gulf Coast, are gearing up and watching from the moment something suspicious swirls off the coast of Africa. The tension begins here. So do the prayers. But we can't predict outcomes...there are certainly many good Christians who lived in New Orleans...so we wait, slightly holding our breath. The closer the predictions come to our area, the more preparations we are making. It doesn't really matter how much you've already prepared, I've discovered, there always seems to be more needing to be done.
For us, preparations began a week before Irene. There are not only the normal things to be done, moving everything out of the way, 'battening down the hatches', as they say, (and sometimes, there are a lot of hatches to batten, many of them quite heavy and cumbersome), but there are also considerations of what to take in case of evacuation.
Because we lived in coastal areas most of our Coast Guard service years, we have had to perform this drill several times. It is never easy. Once, I packed all our children's clothes into plastic bags, thinking that if we lost our home, at least we wouldn't have to buy clothes. The hatchback on our car leaked, the rain somehow got into one of the plastic bags and ran onto a red velveteen Christmas dress. The red dye from the dress then leached onto all the other clothes in the bag. Our home, however, sitting just this side of a sand dune which was the only thing blocking us from the ocean in hurricane-familiar Nags Head, NC, went untouched. Totally untouched...I think that falls under "the best laid plans of mice and men". The clothes in the bag were trashed. A little thing in light of life and death...but a little thing that is an added stress inducer just the same.
To this day, I have trouble deciding what should go and what should stay. I must say, this time, when we at last made the decision to stay, I was relieved...The decision to stay forfeited the need to make numerous decisions about what to pack.
Having taken you back to the beginning, I bring us back to the afterwards and present...This is the time when all the battened hatches are unbattened...which basically means more heavy work and much yard labor, along with dealing with the lack of power. For the more fortunate among us, this is all there is. For others, it was funeral arrangements at most and damaged properties at least.
And no matter where one finds oneself along this line, it is exhausting. Even the spirit needs bolstering as it struggles to keep body and mind on the positive side of life. And without preaching, let me comment here that this is a very good reason to be near family, whether they be physical or spiritual. It is, in fact, a very good reason to consider neighborhood home churches that keep us connected and united within our immediate area.
And so, yes...following the Irene event, we were tired, and really, we shouldn't have wondered why.
So, why do I write of this on a health-food blog?
Because I realize as feelings of guilt over my recent eating try to creep in, that I am but human..."but dust", as Scripture writes it. I tried at first, I truly did. But before too many days, I was feeling more like a survivalist than a purist...and I've never claimed to be a purist in the first place. I didn't take my herbs, drink my probiotic soda, or even take my normal prescripts each day. I was too busy with every thing ELSE. And after that, I was too tired to move, in fact, there were times when I just wanted water to quench my thirst and bed to rest my bones. And I felt very, very blessed to have both.
So, I guess I write to encourage readers to go easy on themselves, whether their hurricane is associated with weather or some other stormy area of life. We are all but human. There is always tomorrow for getting back on the wagon with healthy eating. I'm sorry, I know this rubs some readers wrong, but I truly believe stressing too badly over what we eat is at least as harmful to our bodies as eating wrongly in the first place.
So, what to do? Well, honestly, I choose prayer. I choose going to the One who has all in His control and asking Him to fill the gaps, big and small, that I leave. I know, I know...some of you reading this do this already and don't bother with trying to eat well...and if that is your mode of operation, so be it. But for me, there is this thing about my body being a temple and my responsibility to care for that temple. For years, I ignored this, and even now, there are areas where I struggle to accept that responsibility. Still, in those areas where I have found a measure of discipline, I do what I can, when I can.
And in praying, I find my faith strengthened to believe He is covering the margins I miss.