That’s what The Weather Channel called it, “The Powerhouse Storm”. I called it an inconvenient truth. But I was better prepared in every way than I was for the previous “Storm of the Century” around Christmas of last year. (I found that moniker a little premature, given the Century was only 9 years old.) Here’s my point: I was better prepared.
I live in a remote area, 45 minutes from anything vaguely resembling civilization. When I first heard the prediction of 30 inches, three days out, I bought a snow shovel. When I heard the prediction of 40 inches, two days out, I bought groceries and flashlight batteries. When I heard the prediction of 60 inches, the day before, I just laughed and stopped at the store for ice cream on my way home.
It’s not unusual to lose power at my house—sometimes on a dry, sunny, summer day—so I made some preparations for that, as well. I heat with an oil stove, so I lose the blower if the electric goes out, but still have heat. Fortunately, I live in a house small enough that I won’t get cold. And I can melt snow to make water for whatever. And I have a gas grill so I can heat things up, like soup and pre-brewed coffee. So that’s what I did; made soup and brewed lots of coffee. But the preparation I made that had the best effect was an attitude adjustment.
I’ve spent the last 25 years or so developing a way of being in the world that works for me. And when I say “works” what I mean is I’ve found a way (for the most part) to weave the different aspects of my life into a fairly seamless whole. That process has involved varying amounts of introspection, detachment, diving in, taking action, learning, observing, following directions, following my intuition, fighting, loving, denial, defiance, acceptance, embracing, releasing, prayer, and meditation. The thing that really saved my serenity here was my developing understanding of surrender.
Surrender has gotten a bad rap, what with all the associations of the white flag waved in defeat and whatnot. My new appreciation for surrender comes with my shift in understanding; the innate power in surrender comes from ceasing to resist what is. I’ll tell you straight up, when I finally called up a weather map on my Blackberry Thursday and saw the size of the storm, I had a few moments of the same panic that drove every resident in the counties under the storm warning to clear the shelves of the Wal-Mart. I had a momentary vision of packing up my kitties and, in this case, heading for lower ground. The more I entertained those thoughts of being stuck without power or phone or, or, or…the more I wrapped myself around the axle.
Then I took a breath and surrendered. Short of boarding an airplane and flying away, I was bound to experience the storm. I returned to the present moment, remembered all the preparations I could make and decided to come home and ride it out. Voilà, the return of peace; after all, it’s just another opportunity to walk in faith.