I awoke this morning to the sound of my girls singing “Amazing Grace.” Honestly I did. And no, this is by no means typical. I am just as likely to awaken to the dulcet tones of them singing, “Firework” by Katie Perry, or “Where is My Hairbrush” by Larry the Cucumber. Even more common is for me to awaken to “Mom, she took my SOCKS! And I have a HEADAHCE!” (I have still not convinced them that, if they really had such a horrible headache, yelling loudly would not help the situation. Nor have I yet convinced them that there are enough socks to go around. Because there are. We have enough socks for the neighborhood. Do you need socks? Let us know, cuz they’re all here.
But no, this morning I awoke to “Amazing Grace,” sung pretty darn well, by my daughters. Which made me smile (as opposed to waking up with Patient Mommy Speech #32 which begins, “Now ladies, there are plenty of socks…”) And it was appropriate to hear the old hymn on a morning of sunshine and warm air and yes, still many autumn leaves, after our visit from Hurricane Sandy yesterday, which for us, gratefully, was more bark than bite. Our thoughts and prayers are heartily with those who faired worse.
As usual, things were a lot better than I’d feared, because I’m a pretty good fearer. After getting warnings about days of no power, I had bought the last generator—no hand-to-hand combat required--at Job Lot (the el grande cheapo kind that can power a whole toaster oven). That evening, when I checked Facebook postings, I realized that all my mom friends were cooking. Oh. Right. I am ashamed to say, I had not thought of doing that. At all. Even though I had realized the stove might not work in an outage.
And for me, the worst part of cooking is, the results are never guaranteed. You can slave over a particular dish, only to have no one really want to eat it. The last time I steamed green beans I forgot about them, set my entire oven on fire (harvest gold circa 1950. Sadly, it survived), and had a visit from the somewhat cranky local fire department who advised me to air the smoke out of the house and “clean this up.” (By “this” they were referring to the results of my frenetic sweep of the kitchen with powdery substance during my first use of a fire extinguisher, which involved me pulling everything off that looked like a pin and squeezing the trigger, neglecting the aiming part somewhat in my anti-fire enthusiasm.)
At any rate, after reading posts such as “Just finished baking three pies, creating four casseroles, sautéing eleven stir fries, and confecting the perfect lasagna... waiting around the hearth holding hands with board games and laughter for the start of Sandy,” I felt somewhat lacking. So when I woke the day of the storm and saw the lights still on, I blessed the Lord I had been given a second chance at domestic success. I graciously told my kids they could watch TV “till the power goes out,” and then frantically cooked most of the day. These dishes mostly involved my “comfort zone” of cooking, which is boiling. I can boil with the best of them. My mother was Irish, and we were raised on all things boiled and blackened. I thought steak and scallops were supposed to be really chewy till I met my husband (who, naturally, is a fabulous cook, which is how this all works out.) And I still have a fondness for canned green beans, instant potatoes, and well-done hamburger.
So I made rice, and pasta, and then got all kinds of crazy and pulled out the quick bread mixes. After the frozen pot pies emerged in “edible” form from the over, I tired a bit and let my eight year old take the reins on completing the apple crisp… all went well till she mistook unlabeled hot cocoa mix for brown sugar. (FYI cocoa mix does not bake well, and in no way does it “crisp.”) (Note bene: In my heart, I am an organic, gluten-free, locally grown, paleo-inspired provider of nourishing traditions. In reality, I am not. Yet.)
And after all this delectable bounty of overdone rice and dark brown pot pie… we did not lose power! Praise the Lord! The worst thing that happened here was that my children were bleary eyed from television (as it worked just fine all day) and everyone was overfed on starches. I guess it just goes to show that 95% of what we worry about doesn’t happen, and no, it does not add one minute to our lifespan as Christ said. (Matthew 6:27). Still, unfortunately, doesn’t always stop me from being anxious. Yet.
I’m reflecting on Matt 6:28-9, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” It makes me think that God doesn’t just give us what we need, but He makes us beautiful. “He hath made everything beautiful in its time.” Eccl. 3:11). That our mere existence gives glory to Him and our life is upheld by His abiding love. What hurricane has anything on that?
I earnestly hope you all are well after Sandy or otherwise, and if not well, then will soon be. Not being glib about it: I earnestly believe God looks out for our best interests, though I am well aware it does not always appear that way. (The last time I said a novena, my car was stolen at the end of it. That’s still a head-scratcher to me. Still, I trust God works all for good, and perhaps someone needed the car more—and the car seats, and my notebooks, beach umbrella, and purse that was inside it… no, I’m not bitter lol. Okay, not anymore. But I remain curious, and I’m cultivating the faith that God worked it all for the best, though I don’t understand why things happen at times.)
I sometimes feel badly promising to pray for people, when my prayers are often so distracted and hurried. But I have faith my prayers are worthwhile to God, though I confess—since I had babies—I have found daily Mass a thing of the past and a hope for the future, and the last time I was actually on my knees with a rosary was when one got tangled in the dishwasher and I prayed that nothing was broken. Formal prayers mostly happen in the car or shower these days, how about you? I miss contemplative prayer so much though… for now, mommy life seems to be mostly active prayer, offering up mishaps and aches and exhaustion. Working while praying, and praying through work… I like to this I’m being “Opus Dei” about my vocation. Trying anyway. So I will boldly promise to pray for you; and I would love if you pray for me. (Thus "Oremus pro invicem"... just sounds so much cooler in Latin. :)
Turns out, my girls were not actually singing the traditional “Amazing Grace” this morning after all, but a parody about “Amazing Baby.” Ah well, ‘twas a nice thought. As I write, this same “amazing baby” is taking a nap while my three year-old thunders back and forth past her room to the kitchen on juice acquisition missions. This could get… sticky. Perhaps I’d better go for now. Oremus pro invicem!