Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane of Opportunity

I remember being a kid in maybe, fourth or fifth grade when Hurricane Gloria swept its way through my town. As a kid I remember looking outside at the huge winds bending the trees with its immense power and being absolutely in awe of Mother Nature. How was it possible to bend a huge oak tree? Or break it?

Having no power back then wasn't a big deal. I was 11. It was like camping but I got to sleep in my own bed every night. I don't remember how long we were out for but I do remember liking the feel of candlelight and the forced quiet that pervaded the house where the television usually filled in the silences. I liked having to interact with family members. Playing games with my siblings was a lot better than sitting in the dark. And fighting with them only got me in trouble so really, I was just better off being nice.

As an adult, having no power is exhausting, scary, and frustrating. I tend to hate it. A lot. But without times like these, when we are forced to interact with our loved ones instead of zoning out on Facebook, TV, and video games, when else do we find the time for basic human connection? It's a techie world and most of the time, that's really great. I love the ease keeping in touch with friends who live far away that Facebook provides me. I love playing games on the iPad and will totally admit my television addiction at any time. But when those things are gone, and you have to fill the hole they leave, you can either complain about it or make the most of it.

I'm a make the most of it type of gal. Not that I don't complain. I think we all know, I've turned complaining into an art form. But once I've gotten it out of my system I make myself step back and evaluate the situation from other angles besides my inconvenience and frustration. Looking over the past couple of days I can now count the number of blessings I have stumbled upon that I have been missing out on when they're right under my nose. I just couldn't hear or see them over the noise of the TV, laptop, iPad, and iPhone.

If I had power over the past few days I never would have spent extra time in meditation that I often totally skip in favor of The Real Housewives of Wherever when given the choice. I never would have seen my husband doing everything in his power to keep us safe and me calm. I never would have had the deep conversations we've shared over the past few days because we would have been too busy watching our shows. I wouldn't have gotten to connect with our neighbors who called to check on us during the storm. I wouldn't have started reading for pleasure but here I am, re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because I didn't want to use the battery on the iPad during the day. And guess what, it's even better than I remember it.

I have been forced to communicate with family members and keep in touch with friends and loved ones to make sure they're okay. I have been given this opportunity and though I wouldn't call this terrible storm a blessing, I will say you find blessings when you're forced to look for them. Make the most of this chance to reach out to a neighbor, help a family member, or accept help from someone who cares. Let this force of nature bring to you a heightened sense of how fortunate you truly are, how loved you are, and how loving you are capable of being. Find the good. It's easy once you know where to look.

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