He giveth quietness. Job 34:29 [KJV]I watched a few minutes ago as four power company trucks raced south down our two-lane highway. Many people up on the mountains still have no electricity. My husband spoke of a couple ahead of him in line at the local pizza place last night who were acting very grumpy. Evidently the man realized his behavior was not exemplar because he explained as he paid for his purchase, "We don't have a well. We haven't had water or electricity since Tuesday."
My husband used his Christmas present, a Flip video recorder, to document some of the conditions he encountered Thursday as he was on his mail route. There were several places where he had to drive through the canopy of trees that had fallen. One place had the power lines propped up off the road by a sturdy branch with a 'y' at the end of it. Many times it was the power lines holding up the trees off the road. At one point in his route, he had to turn around and drive miles back around a mountain to service the mailboxes just on the other side (a few feet from where he turned) because of a large tree blocking the road.
I understand the frustration that man felt. I've been there. Actually, I'm pretty grumpy after a few days of camping without getting a proper shower -- and that is self-imposed lack. I've also been through ice storms and moving situations where it was more than a few days before we had power. I know at one point when I was given the answer, "It will be next week before the inspector can get to your house. We can't turn the power on until we get his report," I burst into tears and blubbered to the man on the phone that I couldn't go another week without electricity. This after playing "Little House on the Prairie for a week and a half...boiling water on a camp stove, cooking Thanksgiving turkey on the grill, and using a propane lantern and candles for light. It really was fun...for about a week. I borrowed the "Little House on the Prairie Cookbook" from the library and we worked our homeschool lessons around our situation. But even though we were in North Carolina, early December tends to get cold. Bath water doesn't stay very warm waiting for the next stock pot to boil and be poured in.
As God was teaching me patience and endurance [*grimace*] and I tried to be consoled by my husband's reassurance over the phone that we would check into a hotel over the weekend, a knock sounded at my front door. The inspector showed up at my door less than an hour after I talked to his co-worker on the phone. My power was on before dark. I was able to bathe my three little kids in warm water...cook on my electric stove...and joyfully, soak in my new garden tub with warm, yes even steaming hot, water.
Lesson learned: Always let your emotions show when you need something from a Southern male bureaucrat...Southern gentlemen are taught to step up and save a damsel in distress!
Whooops! No really, the lesson learned is that God will provide what we need...even if what we need is peace and quietness and just a little warmth. I was at the end of myself when I had that emotional breakdown on the phone. But while the inspector was at my house, I found out that a cancellation on the man's schedule allowed him to be able to get to my house before the business office of the electric company closed. Now Who do you supposed arranged for that cancellation?
My daughter has been staying with us since a couple days before these recent storms hit. She has been marveling at the timing of her illness that caused me to bring her and her son to our house at just the right time. She is the kitchen manager for the culinary school she attends and since the college uses a vo-tech facility kitchen, when the county closes the schools she doesn't work. She has been able to recover here without missing work. When she went past her house a couple days ago and saw the huge pile of snow blocking her iced-over (steep) driveway, she started thinking about how God provided her illness just in time to keep her from being stranded on the hill with no way to get out. (Not that her father and I wouldn't have mounted a rescue attempt!!)
On Monday before the storms hit, my husband and son brought a large load of firewood home and stacked it on the porch. It is enough to last us well into February. And it burns well, so it is seasoned to be used just now at the time we need it. My son and I were able to get a water line break well on its way to being fixed before my husband got home from his long, icy mail route on Tuesday so all he had to do was help get the splices in and fill in the hole. Yesterday my son, daughter, grandson, and I were able to get out between snowy downpours and resupply our panty.
All the little evidences of the Lord's care have given me a sense of quiet in my soul. Just what my busy lifestyle (again, self-imposed) needed. I'm sitting here in my large rocker, glancing out the window at the frozen (and finally sunlit) beauty, tucked under my favorite blanket, steaming cup of coffee on the table next to my Bibles and devotional, with a roaring fire in the fireplace. The kids are still sleeping and my husband has warm clothes and a reliable car in which to deliver mail. I am blessed this morning with a quiet spirit brought on by my gratefulness for the Lord's care and attention to my needs.
Thank You, Father, for your tender care and abundant mercies!
Like other shepherds
help me keep
watch o'er my flock by night;
mindful of each need,
each hurt, which might
lead one to stray --
and each ill --
while others sleep
teach me to pray.
At night wolves and leopards,
hungry and clever, prowl
in search of strays
and wounded; when they howl,
my anxious heart
to calm delight --
for the Great Shepherd
watches with me
over my flock
by night. ~Ruth Bell Graham