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Last week I decided to take my son’s bed apart and vacuum out all the dust underneath it.  Apparently, too many appliances were on at the same time, and the power cut out.

So in the pitch black, I worked my way down the hall to the flashlight on the fridge, muttering to myself.  The power supply is in the garage, and there were boxes and rakes in front of it, as well as a random pile of bricks stacked neatly into a pyramid.  Some boy-types must have been mighty bored one day not too long ago.

When I finally cleared the way to the power supply, the writing was faded from the years and I couldn’t figure out which switch to flip.

I sighed.

Did I mention I’m blind in one eye?

It was a moment of intense frustration.

My son was standing nearby and he tried to offer words of encouragement.  “We got this, Ma.  Don’t worry; we’ll figure it out.”

But for some reason, I refused this care package.

“Well, obviously, I can’t figure it out!”  I said.  “I can’t see what I’m doing and the writing is too small on this board and there’s just no way to do this ….”

My son went silent.

I stomped around for a while until I finally flipped each switch one at a time and my son signaled that the lights were back on.

We went back into the house and my son was subdued.  Later, we talked about my momentary lapse of reason.  We worked it out, but he felt sad for hours because he had tried to help me and I wouldn’t take the help.

Not only had I unplugged myself from my son as he reached out to me, I had also unplugged myself from the source of my own strength.  Not once do I recall sending up a prayer.  Something as simple as, “Now what do I do, Lord?” would have sufficed.

In the overall scheme of life, a power outage is minor, but it’s a metaphor for losing touch with the sources of power that keep us going – the love of our family, the faith that shores us up, the sense that this too shall pass.

So I learned that whatever the situation, the moment of impact is like an earthquake.  Sometimes you have to just hold on to what’s important (your son, your cat, the good china) and just get through it.  Remind yourself that life will continue when the aftershocks are done.  Get back to your source and back to your senses, and you’ll see the light before long.

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Have a Mary Little Christmas

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