Life is sweet. It’s rich and layered and bright. Little blessings hang like ripe fruit within our grasp, and every day, every day is a miracle. But sometimes we get distracted…
It snowed this weekend. The first snow of the year for our little corner of creation, and as the day went on and the inches continued to pile up we wondered at the beauty–the abundance–of it. We shoveled snow and caught flakes on our tongues, went sledding and warmed up with hot cocoa and board games. It was beautiful. Cozy and wonderful.
When we woke up on Saturday morning, it was cold. And dark. The house was so eerily still that our kids came running into our bedroom long before dawn. “What’s wrong?” The electricity was out all over town, and as the day unfolded we learned that a substation had exploded. And a water main. The Red Cross set up a shelter in the high school gym while city workers and volunteers worked tirelessly for over 24 hours to restore power to our little town and repair the broken pipes. In the meantime, we were grateful for a sunshiny day and went about our business in dim houses, unshowered, with breakfast dishes piled in the sink because we weren’t supposed to use water. By mid-afternoon it became clear that the situation was more serious than we had first anticipated. There was still no power for much of town and it didn’t look like it would be restored anytime soon.
That’s when it began. The trickle of solidarity that flowed into a tidal wave of community–and unity. Students from the local college helped canvas the neighborhoods that would be without power for an extended period of time. Many of them were bilingual and could communicate with families who may not have been plugged in to the social media outlets where so much important info was being disseminated. Families whose power had been restored opened their homes, offering coffee and games, food and conversation to those who were still watching the thermostat drop. One local grocery store pried open their doors and welcomed everyone in. I walked the dark aisles with my kids, wondering at the empty shelves, the crowd of people, the smiles and sense of fellowship in the midst of such a strange, unsettling situation.
We depend on the power grid. But even more, we depend on each other.
Mr. Rogers is famously quoted as saying: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
How true it is. No matter the situation–from Paris to my own sleepy little town–you will always find people who are helping. City workers, volunteers, firemen, the Red Cross, neighbors, and new friends worked together to help our community overcome. The same is true on a global scale. And in your own backyard. We’re in this together, friends, and I am so thankful for you I could weep.
Every square inch of this magnificent world is His. And ours. To cultivate and protect, shepherd and restore. And for every story of sorrow there are ten more that rise above the havoc we wreak. Take a moment and celebrate the California mom who is helping Syrian refugee babies, the Turkish man who rescued a child from the sea, or the Frenchman who choses love instead of hate after the Paris attacks. There are a million more.
This Thanksgiving week, I challenge you to celebrate 1,000 gifts. If you haven’t read Ann Voskamp’s book, buy it for yourself right now. And if you have, let’s get back there, shall we? To a place where we’re pointing out the beauty, remembering the gifts, loving each other? It’s easy to be distracted. To feel the creep of cold when the world is dark, but when we throw an arm around our neighbor, everything changes. Everything.
Create confidently, love confidently, and in all things GIVE THANKS,