Life lessons happen daily if we're open to them. Some such lessons come in lovely packages that are easy to absorb. However, the most useful life lessons typically are our most challenging moments. Recently, I had two that provided wonderful lessons and reminders as to what is really important in my life. On a recent Sunday, my 30-year-old furnace finally died. Fortunately, it wasn't bitter cold outside, but it was a bit chilly in the house. To add insult to injury, our space heater bit the dust just one week earlier.
I shift into high gear during this type of situation, paring down life into what is most important and what is immediate. First, call the company who had serviced our furnace for years. Second, retrieve our electric blanket from storage in the basement. Third, find a home for Simon, our cockatiel, who couldn't be convinced to snuggle with us under the electric blanket.
The clarity I had was liberating. My priorities were obvious to me. This certainly wasn't a tragedy, but I knew what was a requirement--staying warm for all of us--and what were electives, which was everything else. All of those nit-picky parts of our lives that we think are important, aren't.
Two days after the furnace finally gave out, our shiny new furnace and air conditioner were installed. I felt like the luckiest person alive! Compared to too many on our planet, I was in a privileged position. I had heat again and am ready to take on the hot summer, too. All was good. It was time to retrieve Simon. The furnace guys had barely packed up and left when...
we lost electrical power. Yessirree, I was sitting in the pitch black. One glance out the window assured me that all the houses on my block were in the dark, too. After lighting candles and groping my way to my cell phone, I, once again, had this feeling of calm, that I knew what was important and what could wait. My husband and son soon returned home. We talked. There was a hush throughout our house and a beautiful glow from the candles. We had everything we needed and much of what we wanted. This wasn't a hardship. This was yet another life lesson about what is important, e.g., stillness, conversation, and what isn't.
I woke up early the morning after the electricity was restored and my house was toasty warm. Simon was thrilled to be home and didn't leave my shoulder all morning. I had immense gratitude for the easy life that is mine. My not large house felt like a mansion. The sun streaming onto my old living room furniture made the room look like it is out of a design magazine. My galley kitchen was plenty large to hold all the food my family could ever need.
I am grateful for so many things. Now I'm grateful my furnace broke and my electricity disappeared. Life lessons all. What are yours?