Squeezing Good From Bad

I started reading a book by Jim Watkins last week. This was shortly after we hit the 90-hours-without-power milestone and before we came home to three flooded rooms and a collapsing dining room ceiling. It’s a witty, wisdom-packed little tome, one that keeps readers balanced on that fine line between crying and laughing.

My favorite quote thus far:

“Humor is not the opposite of seriousness. Humor is the opposite of despair.” — Conrad Hyers

Watkins elaborates a bit more.

“The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4, ‘… we are not in despair.‘ And in Romans 8, he reminds first century Christians that ‘In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.'”

Sometimes life forces a sour pucker. Maintaining a content, gentle spirit during those lemon-infused days can prove more than a challenge. We’ve had a number of those days lately. If you follow me on facebook, you likely fell victim to a bit of my discouraging splatter last week. Today I’m taking Jim’s advice and choosing to look on the brighter side of things.

We had lots and lots and LOTS of unexpected family togetherness. We were even blessed to have an impromptu visit with my brother, his wife and their kids who were also stranded without power. I am so thankful for the haven my in-laws provided for ALL of us during that time! They’re the best.

Sandy allowed me to resurrect many skills not utilized since my time in war-torn Bosnia … like how to make coffee and toast without those nifty appliances upon which we’ve become so dependent. (BONUS: I succeeded in making American coffee, not the Turkish stuff you drink with a spoon. I don’t miss that part of missionary life.)

We’ve gotten a lot of sleep. When the sun goes down at 5pm and you have nothing but a candlelit board game or book to entertain you … well, eyelids get heavy.

My fridge and freezer have never been cleaner! At least not since leaving the manufacturer.

It is possible this corner of my kitchen has also never been emptier. :) Some of you will take notice of our proper priorities. Rick has his Coke and I have my gigantic bottles of coffee creamer at the ready. Clearly, we’re thinking of the children. We must resume life as it once was … for the children.

The children have thoroughly enjoyed their “vacation.” Don’t tell them what will happen to their workload once they finally return … whenever that might be.

Tomorrow is the seventh day of cancelled school. Power is available, but there are still too many downed wires and debris to facilitate safe travel, so the town continues to postpone normalcy. My munchkins seem perfectly fine with that.

Halloween has been postponed more than once. I’m perfectly fine with that.

Our kids will have great stories to tell their kids! “Remember the time that hurricane closed school for TWO WEEKS? And we had to eat by candlelight? And Mom and Dad made us sleep together so we wouldn’t be too cold? And then we had to camp out and Grandma’s house? And then we came home and it was raining inside the dining room?? That was the BEST!”

Opportunities abound to not just go to church, but BE the church. We still have no power on our 22-acre campus, but our church has still found ways to share what we can and help those who need it. We’ve collected moving boxes, cleaning supplies, clothes and more. Teams have gone out for hours each day assisting those hardest hit. Other churches (those with power) have offered afternoon movies and game times, anything that might break up the monotony. Individuals have opened their homes for meals, heat and recharging stations. Others have offered hot showers and laundry services. Even kids are getting in on the action by giving free hot chocolate to those waiting in gas lines and collecting donations for the Red Cross. It’s been amazing!

The truth is, as Paul stated, we are not in despair. God is good and we are His. Nothing else really matters.

Your turn: What sweet spots can you find in the sour-puss moments of recent life?

Talk to me!

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