Monday, January 31, 2005


Tree coated with ice

Bushes bend under weight of ice

Peace in the Ice
by Janice Price

Saturday morning I was greeted with an incredibly beautiful sight. Everything was encased in ice and icicles dangled from just about everything. The ice would melt a little and a cold drizzle would freeze to form more ice.

The electric blinked, crashed, came back to life, and when I finally thought it safe to turn on the computer and go online, it sent the UPS into a tizzy, trying to shut everything down without the battery being sufficiently recharged.

There was little to do. There wasn’t enough light in the house to read or to write a story longhand. I called some friends, took some photographs, walked two very disgruntled dogs around the yard, crunching ice beneath my feet, and talked with some neighbors.

When the lights came back on in mid-afternoon, they blinked, winked and died within seconds. I called the electric department and learned that just as soon as the lines in my area were repaired a transformer blew. It was hard to hear the woman over the other voices at the department.

A short time later I heard a frightening boom that sent the cats scattering for safety. A branch from a neighbor’s tree fell from some height, caught on the electric line, and bent the pole where the line is attached over my roof. This time I could not get through to the electric department for a while because they were also without electricity by then and only one phone would ring. I reported the hanging branch and the damage to the electric line, wondering if I would have electricity when it was restored to the neighborhood.

All day I was thinking about those who had electric heat instead of gas heat. Before their daughter arrived with food for them, I fixed a thermos of hot tea for my elderly neighbors. Their stove was also electric. The young couple on the other side built a fire in their fireplace for warmth. Everyone made do as best they could. The sidewalks were clear, so I debated whether to take the dogs for our usual walk past the mill, but the route is lined with tall trees which were dropping ice and branches onto the ground. We stayed close to home instead.

I heated soup for an early dinner, washed dishes in the fading light, and settled into a swivel rocker with a blanket for warmth and a puppy and a cat for company. It’s been a while since I’ve had such a peaceful day. Yes, it was peaceful, despite the disruption to my routine. I’m not by nature a calm person, so as I rocked, I considered the source of the peace.

All day I was thankful for what I did have: for knowing my mother was warm and safe in her home, for having gas heat, for emergency workers who were on the job and for unexpected time to spend with God.

There was nothing I could do to fix the electrical problem. I left everything in the capable hands of the professionals, knowing that somewhere and somehow the problem was being resolved. I couldn’t see the trained personnel working to fix the local power outages, but I trusted they were on the job, working their way from area to area, one problem at a time. This wasn’t about me, it was about the community, and it would be worked out for everyone’s good.

Too often I have worried and fretted over something I can’t fix or control. It goes against my nature (and the nature of so many others) to release a problem fully to God and allow him to work it out for the good of everyone involved. Once I pry my fingers loose, I can find peace, even though God might not reveal the solution for some time.

I couldn’t see what God was doing, but I enjoyed the day, entrusting it to him, and without conscious thought, following 1 Peter 5:7, Casting all your care upon him, for he cares for you.

It grew late and as I became sleepy, I thought, The electricity won’t be back on tonight. I might as well go to bed. It’s too dangerous to work in this weather in the dark. Then, I was wide awake as the desk lamp suddenly blazed. It was quarter to eight. Life was again full of the wonders of modern technology, until an hour later the phone went dead.

Still, it was a peaceful day.

© 2005 Janice Price

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