Dear Family and Friends,
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life throws you a rainy day, play in the puddles. When it gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show that you have a thousand reasons to smile. When life gives you more than you can stand…kneel.”
All relevant sayings these days.
As you may know from my previous posts, I try hard (note the word “try”) to look on the bright side of life in all situations. Recognizably, it is harder to do in some situations than others.
Our communities encountered a winter weather event last month, they say, only comes around once every hundred years. And it was something I think we will all remember.
For me, I will remember a time in which the BVT campus was without power for 5 days. A time in which our staff provided care to nearly 50 individuals in a single building (with a diesel generator) on campus, sleeping on cots, running on little sleep and doing their best to keep our residents safe, secure and reassured. A time when we dealt with frozen pipes, water damage, and water outages.
But our residents will remember it as a time in which they had the ultimate “slumber party” with their friends…many of whom they had not seen or spent time with in nearly a year due to the global pandemic. A time where they got to have dance parties, stay up late, and share stories of the past.
And our staff…our staff will remember this time as yes, tiring, exhausting, and trying, but also as a time where they developed closer relationships and new friendships with one another. Many who had only seen each other in passing or have visited over a computer screen. A time where they came together to accomplish something much bigger than themselves, while understanding and recalling how their long and little sleep nights helped a group of people during, once again, an unprecedented season. They will not soon forget how this event formed and strengthened a bond with one another, the residents, and maybe most importantly, with The One who put everything into motion.
For me, it’s hard to look past the stress of that week in February 2021. Our struggle of how to get the BVT generator refueled with impassable roads so that the heat could stay on in that chapel…trying to find a restoration company to repair our water damaged walls and floors in our Administration Building…and talking with our local officials in an attempt to restore power back to BVT sooner rather than later. The worry and challenge of it all won’t soon leave my memory.
And at home…a time when our household lost power, our water heater made crazy sounds, and tape lined our double doors to keep out the subzero drafts. A time that seemed to have caused so much fear and stress.
But then, a lightbulb turned on…both in my head and literally…(the actual lights come on in the house).
And at that moment and to my surprise, I hear two little voices from the living room exclaim in disappointment “ahhh man!” As I come out of my home office to find out why they are so disappointed that the lights came back on…they begin to explain how they will no longer get to camp out by our fireplace, or eat by candlelight, or be able to play hide and seek in the dark. “So you want the power to go back out again?” I asked. “Yes!” they shouted.
As I was stressing over all of those things mentioned above and wishing for that week to be over with, our residents, our staff, my kids, were all experiencing it in a different perspective. The right perspective.
They were making lemonade. They were playing in the puddles. They were giving life a thousand reasons to smile. And many of them could no longer stand, so fell to their knees in prayer.
While I was trying to solve (what felt like) the world’s problems, my kids were making snow ice cream and creating snow angels. They will remember our late-night praise and worship session with nothing but a guitar and the light from the glowing fireplace, not having to take a bath for 3 days, and the hours of sledding down the driveway on our “beach boogie board.”
I recognize this situation was not a laughing matter for many in our community and how it was indeed an emergency situation. For many, they will remember that week much differently, as they experienced great loss and true hardships. My heart goes out to each person who suffered such a loss.
But for our tribe, they did it right. Hard work for many, long days for all, but keeping their eyes set on what really mattered. Turning a hard situation into memories that will last a lifetime.
I told my wife a couple of weeks ago that I didn’t know what to write about this month…having a moment of “writer’s block.” As we deflated the last air mattress and put away the last flashlight from that long week, she looked at me with a smile, and said “Honey, I think you have your next story.”
So the next time life gives you snow, go make some snow angels, eat some snow ice cream, and find a hill to sled down. You won’t regret it.
And while you go through those long nights and early mornings, always remember you are strong enough to do hard things.
Until next time,