1. When I wrote last week’s Takes, I was still in denial about the approach of Sandy the Superstorm. We’d already had a freak blizzard at this time last year, and Irene had been hyped but downgraded to a tropical storm prior to that, so I was using an odd combination of superstition and faulty reasoning to pretend that Frankenstorm would also be a myth. I was suffering from week 2 of the never-ending-cold-virus; I honestly did not feel up to the task of preparing for a catastrophic storm.
2. Eventually the husband and I broke through our denial and storm prepped. We brought our lawn furniture inside, we purchased propane for the grill in case we had no electricity to prepare food with after the storm, we bought paper plates, cups, paper towels... and I washed every last piece of laundry in the house, so that we'd all have underwear and warm clothing to last a week if need be. However, by the time we’d gotten to the grocery shopping part, every store was sold out of water and bread. Thus, I filled pots, pans and soda bottles with water from the sink. We baked bread, muffins, and brownies all day Monday before Sandy made landfall. The night before the storm arrived we’d passed on the opportunity to buy a generator for $800 (we'd been on a waiting list), and I was glad because we never did lose power (and $800 is not anything we can just spend for the heck of it). All through our storm preparations I felt feverish and lousy. We ended up not needing the myriad containers of water, and we weren't housebound for more than a day. Yet if I had not prepared, Murphy’s Law dictates that we would still be in the dark, and hungry.
3. We did lose 4 large trees in the backyard. My husband tested my anxiety-handling capabilities by deciding to not call a tree service; instead he tackled this sixty-five foot beauty on his own, with his chainsaw... cutting it up from the bottom in four-foot chunks, letting it fall/drop at an angle closer and closer to that elm it was caught in at the top. As I watched, slack-jawed, through our diningroom window, he seemingly morphed into a Jack London character within a naturalist plot of Man vs. Tree. I accidentally proclaimed him CRAZY in front of the kids a few times. However, I am proud to say that I never stuffed my opinions of the danger, nor my emotions regarding said danger; nor did I stomp my feet, yell or pout once his mind was made up to do this. He is a grown up, after all. He got this big 'ole tree down and cut into pieces within two hours time. I'll admit to being both relieved and proud.
4. In the storm insanity I’d almost forgotten that Heather King (an author I very much appreciate and admire) quoted me in her blog! (Perhaps I need to ammend my inland vs. coastal New Englander distinction. After watching the aforementioned large spruce tree fall vertically on my would-be-lumberjack of a husband, who afterwards said he’d “planned it that way,” I wonder if I am just projecting my cautiousness onto those who live around me...)
5. Once Sandy passed, the family made it out for Halloween! Since we’d been so busy with the storm prep, and then who knew if there would be a Halloween with that hurricane blowing, I didn’t get the costumes out of the basement bin until the morning of Oct. 31st. (No. I never made the milk jug skeleton, either.) We needed to go to Target for an extra light saber and Anna’s mask, but what they ended up with was not bad for last minute:
6. I have had a form of writer’s block all week. This is partly from the family-illness cycle we'd entered into, and partly from the anxiety and relief and sadness for others in the wake of Sandy, and of all the harried time that went into meeting her arrival. Moreover, I’ve felt too wounded to write this week. I’ve wanted to write and I’ve wanted that effort to be Good, but I am in the middle of something that is burning me. On one hand I need to face that Thing, but on the other I want equally to retreat into a ball somewhere deep inside myself and not come out. (Was this maddening impulse why my mother drank?) Meanwhile, there are these three little people (quickly becoming not-so-little) who need their mom to teach them, to lead them, to be an example for them... and to (hopefully) encourage them to love life, and Jesus, and not just try to make it through existence by avoiding hurt while fearing any hardship.
7. Thursday was The Feast of All Saints. The reading from 1 Jn 3:1-3 was reassuring.
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.
Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure,
as he is pure.
Ponder this with me, because it is such a relief: what we shall be has not yet been revealed! God does not require me to be perfect now; He asks me to grow in patience as He perfects me. We're in a process here, after all. God does not require that I "hold it all together," or even that I walk around pretending that I have it all together; He prefers that I come to him in my very real weakness, and ask for His grace to strengthen me. He never expected me to have won any races by now; He calls me to grow in fortitude and perseverance, and by His grace, endure.
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