Photo Courtesy of the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, Montgomery County Audubon Collection, and Zebra Publishing
For everyone celebrating the various holidays this past week, and for those of you celebrating holidays this week, including the end of one year and the beginning of another, Happy Holidays!
I began writing this post the day before Christmas, and I continue the day after. That’s how things go sometimes.
A Tale Mostly About Perspective
My family and I have enjoyed some down time together this week. My son’s birthday falls during the week before Christmas, and I’m thrilled to have him home from college. My daughter has taken a break from writing to celebrate the holidays (and her brother’s birthday). And on top of preparing for the Christmas holiday, on which other family members come to my house to share a meal and gifts, many people across a large part of the United States were forced to deal with a major winter storm.
While we, here in Central Kentucky, didn’t get a large amount of snow, we did get 40 to 50 mph winds and lower temperatures than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime (that I can remember). My family lost power for about 6 hours on Friday, starting soon after we woke. Also, a portion of our master bathroom pipes froze, most likely from the severe winds and the wind chill of -28°F. (Well… and the lack of insulation around the pipes, something our contractor promised wouldn’t be an issue when we updated our bathroom a few years ago.)
For about an hour last night, my husband and I held vigil in our bathroom/bedroom, praying these frozen pipes wouldn’t burst when they thawed. We googled things like “how to thaw pipes”, “what to do when pipes freeze”, and “are frozen pipes guaranteed to burst.”
We learned things like, “No, pipes don’t always burst, but if they’re frozen for prolonged periods, the chances are good that they will.” And “you should turn off the water to your house if you think it’s a possibility that your pipes will burst.”
We immediately realized we were in a predicament. It’s not predicted to get above freezing until Tuesday. Our pipes were definitely in danger of being frozen for “prolonged periods.” We can’t get to our pipes, because they are in the walls behind tile. It’s pretty difficult to turn off the water to the entire house when four people are living inside of it. But if we didn’t turn off the water, then the pipes might burst, and then we’d be forced to turn off water to the entire house. And of course, we could turn off the water, and the pipes could burst anyway. Then when we turned the water back on? Waterfall in our kitchen dining area. And a plumber would have to destroy our relatively new bathroom.
While we were fretting over the possibility that our bathroom pipes might burst, not only ruining our bathroom, but the room below our bathroom, an alert sounded on our phone warning us that a major interstate in Kentucky was completely shut down and that Emergency Management was working to get people rerouted. We took a break from worrying about our relatively small problem to pray for those who had been stranded on I-71. There were many reports of people stranded from Friday afternoon until well into the evening/night. Our temperatures never got above about 5°F, with wind chills much, much lower. So the situation was quite frightening.
I tell you all of this because in the midst of our very real problems, we were made aware that there are other, much bigger problems out there. I think most of us know this, but it never hurts to have reminders, I don’t think. This is not to say that our problems weren’t real. It’s about perspective.
And even while I finish up this blog post… (It’s Monday now — the day after Christmas.) …I’m drinking coffee by the fire and contemplating what to wear today. I’m venturing out into the cold later this morning, to the small town I grew up in, to the funeral visitations of the father of one of my oldest friends. This man—a man I have many fond memories of from when I was a child—passed away on my son’s birthday, six days before Christmas.
While we were celebrating another year of life for my son, my friend was losing her father.
While I haven’t seen or spoken to this friend in a long time, I know that I will hug her like it was only yesterday that we were planning to sneak out of her house after her parents went to bed or skipping school to grab lunch somewhere other than the school cafeteria. Did I mention that her father was our high school principal, as well? And if you think that enabled us to get away with things like skipping school, think again!
You might think I’m being ridiculous to ponder my wardrobe for today’s hometown visit, but sometimes it’s easier to consider the mundane than to think about the many people I’m going to see today. it will be a reunion of sorts, I believe. My friend’s father was the high school principal for a lot of years, and if you’re from a small town, you can imagine there will be many there to give him a proper sendoff.
Also, I’ve lost a parent before. While I don’t know what my friend is going through, exactly, I know losing a parent is incredibly difficult. And my heart hurts for her.
We had a lovely week of celebrating. My son’s birthday. The birthday of Jesus. And today, I’ll do my part in helping my friend celebrate the life of her father.
Oh, and my husband and I are celebrating the fact that our pipes thawed on their own and didn’t explode in our walls. To say that we are grateful that we’re not having to move out of our house while our pipes are repaired is an understatement.
I hope everything is calm at your house. And I hope you’ve had lovely holidays (if you’re celebrating). I’m taking some time this week to reflect on the past year and plan for the next. It’s something I enjoy doing. I’m not much of a resolution setter, but I do like having goals and wishes for the days, months, years to come. The last week of the year is a time of rest for me. To be still and meditate on life: past, present, and future.