This morning, as I sit in my warm home, a late winter snow falls outside, covering everything in a fresh blanket of white. Usually, folks where I live complain when we get snow in March and April, even though it’s not uncommon.
Because by now, we’ve experienced a few springlike days, when snow melts and we shed some of the layers we’ve been wearing since Thanksgiving (give or take). And once we get a taste of that spring weather, we don’t want to accept that it’s simply Mother Nature teasing us, throwing us a small treat (or maybe a “trick”) to tide us over until the warm weather arrives for real.
It happens every year, and every year we fall for the trick.
Over the weekend, we had a different kind of weather. Saturday night, it was thunderstorms and high winds, which meant I woke up to a dark house on Sunday morning. To be clear, I wake up to a dark house every morning because I’m an early riser. But early Sunday, the power had been knocked out – either by wind or lightning, I’m not sure – and so it was truly dark in our home, on our street and throughout our neighborhood.
It was also chilly, specifically, on our hardwood floors, since the furnace that is providing me so much comfort this morning hadn’t been running for several hours before I arose to initiate my normal Sunday routine (buy a paper, make coffee, do the Sunday crossword).
At first, gently roaming around the house by memory (not difficult when you’ve lived somewhere for 20+ years, but not ideal), my first instinct was to grumble and complain to myself about my “plight.”
Just like this morning, when my conscious brain wanted to shift into “(heavy sigh) C’mon really … snow?” mode.
But Sunday, I caught myself and didn’t let a little power outage deter me. I got the garage door open, drove around to see the extent of the power outage (I am, after all, my father’s son), stopped at a gas station outside the “no power zone” to buy a paper and some coffee (since I couldn’t make it at home), and headed back with the intent to do the crossword by candlelight until 1) the sun came up or 2) power was restored.
Around 6:30 a.m., I heard beeps from the microwave oven, TVs and computer printers as they reset, the furnace kicked in and the streetlights reignited. Power had been restored and once again, all was normal and “right” with the world … my world, anyway.
This morning, I also caught myself before I started to complain, and instead of my usual response, I thought “C’mon, it’s just snow …
… it’s not bullets or tanks.”
I live more than 5,000 miles from Ukraine, and my life even on the “bad” days is infinitely distant from what good, innocent people are having to endure in their homes and homeland.
My life isn’t perfect, and neither is yours. I get that. It’s part of what defines life. And because this is life and I’m human, I’m going to grumble and complain about things: finances, the price of stuff, my workload (“it’s too much; it’s not enough”), the weather, temporary power outages, an aching tooth or a stiff back.
But today, and likely, for many, many days moving forward, I need to find a way to get perspective, and to realize how lucky I am because …
… I’m not under attack.
… I’m not sending my family to safety and returning to protect the land where I live and the people I love.
… I’m not having to explain to my kids that, “This is just what we must do right now. I don’t know what’s going to happen or where we’ll end up.”
… I’m not wondering where my next meal or bed will be.
… I’m not living in constant fear.
… I’m safe (as safe as anyone), and my life is predictable and stable.
When I think of all that, I do feel fortunate, but I also feel guilty because way too often, I take that safety, security and predictability for granted because it’s my “everyday,” and frankly, it should be everyone’s “everyday.” Everyone deserves to be safe, fed, secure, and to have an appropriate level of stability and yes, predictability in their lives (the good kind of predictability).
I don’t know what I can do to change the course of anything on any level. But I do hope and pray that cooler, rational, intelligent heads will prevail. I hope and pray that leaders – all leaders – begin to truly lead and unite, not only in and for Ukraine, but around all the issues we have in our own lands and neighborhoods, the things that cause people to feel unsafe and insecure everywhere, every day.
And I hope and pray that I never take for granted what – and who – I have in my life. I want and need to understand how fortunate I am and to use that understanding to help others who couldn’t care less if my biggest gripe is a three-hour power outage or a little unwelcome March snowfall.
I owe others – and the world – that much … and obviously, so much more.
Peace … for all of us.
© 2022 David R. Haznaw