The morning Hurricane Irene arrived we got up and watched some news on the television but mostly just stared out the windows and listened, as the rain pounded, the wind howled and our backyard brook roared. The storm was intense but less so than we had anticipated and she was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm. So we had breakfast and went about doing chores and trying to make it a productive day. Around eleven we all gathered at the computer area as my husband, Stephen, was trying to post a video of the brook, and I was checking email.We figured we had got by with no damage and no loss of power, and then it happened. The lights went out, came back on for a minute of brown out, and then gone. This was Sunday morning and we would not regain power until Friday night. We would all learn from this experience.
Stephen and I have talked about this, and what our learning boils down to is a realization of our attachments to many things that we usually don’t consider. Attachments to hot water, dishwasher, refrigerator, washing machine, and stove, having light when and where we want it, to clocks, and stereos, but most of all to our televisions and computers. We were lucky to have a small generator to keep our refrigerators cold, give us minimal lighting in the early morning and evening and to give us a couple hours of precious television each day. We had our cell phones to stay connected. I know and complain about my kid’s attachment and reliance on television and computer but this experience showed to me that the parents in this house are reliant and very attached too. It brought to light for me how I rely on technology to occupy the kids so I can get other things done. Enlightening indeed!
The week seemed to drag on endlessly in some ways and in others was refreshing and fun. We spent time as a family playing board games , we had a fire pit with our neighbors one night and the kids played flashlight tag. I took the kids on outings during the day and the time became a bonding experience. We learned a lot in that week. We saw how we could pull together and adapt to circumstance. Most importantly it proved that despite the irritation of not having all these things we are attached to, that as long as we have each other it will always be alright. The experience inspired gratitude for all we are blessed with, and brought into perspective the depths of the real difficulties that others endure. I recently saw this gem, ironically on facebook, ” You only lose what you cling to.” The lesson time and time again is that the real suffering does not come from the event or the loss but from our attachment and clinging. Life is trying so hard to help us learn if only we could trust it more. I will keep on trying.