Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Tiny Taste Of The Pioneer Spirit

Early in February, my neighbors and I were without power for about 24 hours. Not having any back up heating alternatives, the temperature in my home dropped to 53 degrees before the power came back on in the wee hours of the next morning. It was a bit inconvenient, but all in all, it wasn't that bad. I thought of it as a little indoor winter adventure. At the end of my long chilly day, I penned a message in my journal to my late husband, Buck, the love of my life. You are invited to listen in.
Hi Bofren! I’ve really been missing you a lot lately and although we can’t talk directly, I thought it might make me feel better to pretend. I think  this is fitting and consistent with my new year commitment to not focus on the past, because today, I feel the need to share my present in some symbolic way. 

It’s been an interesting day of reflection. I woke at 6AM and noticed that there was no dim glow from the alarm clock. Of course, that meant the power was out so I just pulled the covers up and went back to sleep.

It is well into nightfall now and the power has yet to be restored. We had an ice storm last night and that often spells trouble for our utility workers. I dressed in lots of layers, long-johns and wool socks, so I was comfy enough throughout the day.

I’m very thankful that it is an option to manually light the stove-top burners on the propane kitchen stove. Otherwise, I would have had to dig out the Coleman camp stove. I drank lots of hot liquids thanks to the supply of water I keep on hand for the houseplants. I also made a large pot of soup, so I spent a lot of time, literally hugging the stove. That went a long way toward keeping me warm as I hovered over my soup. It became my makeshift radiant heater that helped keep me warm inside and out.

I know you would have handled things differently, if you were here, being the wonderful provider that you were. I'm sure the new generator would be out of the box and gassed up by now, and I can picture all the burners ablaze on the top of the stove (much to my dismay).

As I enjoy the candlelight and lamp light from the kerosene lantern, it makes me think of the Amish community nearby and the realization that this is part of their lifestyle everyday! They really are an amazingly resourceful group of people! It has been a bit bothersome not to have running water or to not be able to see well, but, a day like today makes me realize how very spoiled I really am. If my life included a houseful of people, I’m sure I would have a different opinion about my circumstances, but, my life makes it easier to make the best of it.

Yes, it is a bit troublesome but, short term, there is something special about the uniqueness of not having all the modern conveniences. I enjoy the candlelight and the quiet. I appreciate being forced into fewer options and a slower pace. I’ll read and I’m writing now, using my book light that I got for Christmas and I’ll go to bed early; something I never, ever do!

The power company promises the electric will be restored soon and then it will be back to life as usual. But, for now, I’m comfy and cozy, nestled in one of our zipped up sleeping bags and savoring these moments, missing and thinking about you and wondering what is going on in your reality.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Someone's Valentine!

Hearts Graphic #94
Hearts | Forward this Picture

As winter moves ever so slowly in the direction of spring, I have experienced a new wave of grief, as the calendar flipped over into February...the month that is traditionally so symbolic of love and lovers.  For many single people, February is a tough month to get through, because it highlights our aloneness, or in my case, it makes Buck's absence extra glaring! Buck and I always liked to make Valentine's Day special for each other. This month is a painful reminder of the special relationship we once possessed and that it no longer exists. Never-the-less, the love and memories will always remain and they continue to be my treasure!

As I endeavor to move along on my journey of widowhood, I have been trying to fulfill my New Year commitment to focus on the present. As the memories come to visit, I savor them for a time and let the tears fall, if they are present, and then make it a point to think about something else. It has been beneficial and I am very thankful that the Lord inspired this new way of thinking. It is a healthy emotional step toward the healing of my heart.

With the dawning of the new month, the thought occurred to me that I am no one's valentine. But, that idea was quickly followed by the strong sensing of a quiet voice that spoke to my wounded heart saying, "That's not true! I have loved you since long before you were born; from the beginning of time! I love you so much, I died for you!" How thankful I am that I was able to hear that still, small voice; those inaudible words that my Creator used to comfort my heart! The Lover of My Soul is my valentine and always has been. He knows each one of us individually, and His Love is very personal! That thought blows me away and blesses me at the same time! Thank You for that wondrous gift that You offer to each of us, Lord! And thank You for making it possible to be alone and not feel lonely!

Two years ago, while Buck was in Open Heart ICU at York Hospital, my daughter, Sarah and I went shopping to look for a heart necklace for me. I was so excited to find the perfect one to symbolize the relationship that my sweetheart and I shared. I felt like the Lord had designed it just for me! It was composed of two hearts: a small heart tucked inside a little larger one and a small cross in the center. It was the perfect representation of the love we shared and the foundation that our relationship was built upon. And much to my delight, it was made of silver, my favorite precious metal! When I first started to wear my beautiful necklace, I took it off each night, because it had a very delicate chain that I feared might break if I wore it to bed. After two days of taking it off and putting it back on in the morning, I decided to wear it full time, as it was very difficult to get it on and off. The necklace has almost become a part of me, gracing my neck for nearly two years.

One day when I was taking a shower, some foreign thoughts drifted through my mind. I was thinking about my wedding band and wondered if or when I might ever take it off. At that very moment, the fragile chain that held my double heart, came off into my hand, and I thought it was surely broken. Even though I have another identical necklace that Sarah purchased for me in the event that something might happen to the original; I fell apart at the sight of the crumpled chain and heart in my hand. I wept until my stomach hurt and gradually as I finished showering, I was able to pull myself together. After I finished getting dressed, I put on my glasses and I was shocked to learn that my necklace was not broken after all, but had just come undone. I decided that this was God's way of telling me, "It's time to start letting go." I immediately put my necklace around my neck again. "Sorry Lord, but I'm not ready."

A few days ago, I noticed that my necklace isn't as shiny as it used to be, so I dipped it in my silver jewelry cleaner. On close examination, I could see that my heart is silver plated, not solid as I thought. The silver coating is starting to wear off after all these days of wearing it 24-7. It really has served me well, considering it's humble composition. I have decided that today, I am retiring my faithful friend, and on this Valentine's Day, I am wearing it's twin to represent my relationship and my passion for the Lover of My Soul! It will be a symbol of our love for each other and for the healing that is taking place day by day. May His message of love flow into your hearts as well, as you too realize that you also, are very much loved and you are Someone's Valentine! Happy Valentine's Day!
A Valentine may love you for a lifetime, but God loved you before you were born and will love you for all eternity.
Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love...with loving kindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3
Valentine Haiku

Lover of My Soul
Making me into the one
He wants me to be

Someone's valentine
Has loved us since before time
Gave His Life for us!

My heart within His
Encased in His Love for me
He is my passion