When our electricity failed last week, I must admit I felt a little competitive, like I was a contestant on "Survivor" or something. Heeding warnings that we might be in the dark for more than a few hours, my preparations began.
Dave and I knew not to open our freezer, but we did risk nabbing a few snacks from the refrigerator section. Batteries were put in flashlights and fresh clothes were laid out for the following day. Then our clean-up started. Our like-new propane grill -- a gift from all of our kids last Christmas -- had been propelled through our upstairs deck railing and was in pieces on the ground below, and there were downed trees and numerous broken limbs to deal with, but our house was still standing and had no leaks.
Friends called and even drove by, offering to help. At that point, nothing too overwhelming.
Then my cell phone rang. It was our city manager, Dave Martin, who had been driving around assessing the town's damage when he noticed our dock at the lake was pulling away from the shore.
By the time my husband and I got there, our dock was completely upside down about 10 yards away from where it was supposed to be moored. The roof was anchored in the mud below -- a good thing, we told ourselves, because it hopefully then couldn't float downstream, destroying other peoples' swim platforms. Another blessing was that our boat was in the repair shop and not on its hoist, or we would have lost it, too. We refused to be shaken with this mild setback.
That night Dave and I continued our adventure, playing cards by lantern-light. We were having so much fun, I didn't even accuse him of stacking the deck (like I usually do) when I lost over and over and over again. By the time we went to bed, I felt confident, bold and energized.
We had survived without television, Internet, stove, radio or lights. Yay, us!
The next morning was a different story. I had no coffee. Seriously, how was I supposed to wake up, or have any energy, or not be cranky without my coffee? Dave, who does not suffer from this addiction, failed to empathize with my suffering. I asked if he would be interested in driving to Starbucks in Pittsburg so that I would be happy again. He wasn't. He was, however, up for a Home Depot visit to check out their generators. Close enough. Surely there would be coffee somewhere en route.
I knew we had enough hot water for a quick shower, but what happened after that was a trial I had not taken into account: I had no blow dryer or curling iron, and without those ... well, it's not a pretty picture.
Being cranky and looking ugly are not my favorite conditions. I was being challenged in ways I had never imagined.
Some people are cut out to deal with such adversity. Others, like me, are wimps. We would not do well in captivity; nor would we have made model disciples. Remember when Jesus sent his apostles out to share the gospel with surrounding nations? He told them to travel with only a staff -- no bag, no money, no extra shirt. Think about it. No comb. No soap or toothpaste. No clean underwear. No torch. No manna snacks. Nothing.
I must admit my experience this past week gave me a new appreciation for what Jesus' friends willingly endured. It also gave me a whole new perspective on how I might do in the jungle. Not a pretty picture. I think I'll just enjoy "Survivor" from the comfort of my living room where it's much easier to criticize those contestants for being such wimps.
Pass the popcorn, please.