I’m thinking about all the lavish things we consider necessity right now as I post on my blog using my wireless internet card that is so out of date – Verizon does not even offer a plan for it anymore. I will have to upgrade my USB modem just to get a plan with more data capacity. So, I write my blog post in MS Word offline and will publish it later so as not to overuse my MB’s on my wireless card. J Well, maybe I will publish it from Word or maybe I will cut and paste. Depends on whether or not I can add my WordPress account to my MS Word blog post editor. I’ve tried five times in the last half hour and still get the same message: “Cannot add your account.”
Then I think about the frustration I expressed on the phone with the cable company earlier. I’m put out with them – I’m not going to lie. Every six weeks we have to call them and get an updated box or service call to keep the very expensive television, internet and telephone service they provide us. “We are checking out our other options… We just want you to know.” And we are, we’re a bit tired of the high price of information commodity and have recently been made aware of the opportunity to get the same, even upgraded, service from my husband’s employer at a much discounted rate.
Add to all of this the rolling power outages the state of Texas enjoys this fine winter day, when snow is on the ground and the temperature reads 13 degrees – that’s the high – and well… I’m realizing that my consolable longings list is growing by the minute.
As a matter of fact, I’m contemplating right this minute about whether I should delay the post and run grab a shower before our tankless water heater is once again shut off when the power goes down. But, then my chicken and dumplings that I warmed up in the microwave would be cold and in need of reheating and there is the outside chance our power would be off again. So I will write between bites of piping hot, creamy sauce wrapped around soft, plump dumplings and bits of chicken. I will postpone my shower until after the next power outage and consider my opportunity today to discover something new about myself.
As a matter of fact when I find my mind going to the area of complaint about these things I have to express gratitude that the house payment is in and we have shelter from the harsh winter conditions outside. That our home is equipped with a fireplace and that my lumberjack of a husband went around last February after a record setting winter storm to collect fallen branches and tree limbs. He spent weeks littering the back porch with wood chips as he hacked away at those missing parts of trees gathered from across the D/FW metro area. He even broke a wedge he used to split the wood he was so heavy into the wood-splitting. I grimaced then at the unattractive bin he made to house his fireplace supply in the back yard and threw a fit when the thing came apart in the spring during a particularly fierce wind storm. It dumped firewood all over the ground and could have killed our poor little dog who often tracks around the darn thing when he makes his backyard patrols.
I’m grateful for his determination to make fire in the fireplace when the winds blow cold during our Texas winters. I’m grateful for a heater that has only been off for an hour this morning when the rolling blackouts came through and I’m even grateful for the wireless internet card that will let me publish this post a little later today. I’m grateful that I can remain connected with the outside world even though the cable is not working right now. I’m even grateful to be iced into my little three bedroom house today with my family and knowing we are all safe and well, warm and dry and for the most part untouched by the external conditions of our location right now. I’m also grateful that I have bookshelves of books to read this fine winter day, curled up on the couch under a warm, fuzzy blanket and sipping cocoa.
All of these things are consolable longings for which I am very grateful. And, just now my mind drifts to those unmentioned on the news this week. The scores of homeless people that litter our urban streets – some of whom may have split the veil and made the transition to the life beyond our temporary existence on earth – where are they, what is their condition? Did they get in off the streets and get warm food to eat last night? Can I really complain about the cable being out and the limits of my outdated wireless internet card when there are people shivering and starving on our streets right now?
My memory verses for the early part of this year can be found in the book of Isaiah, chapter fifty-eight.
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage.” (Isaiah 58: 6-8 MSG)
Perhaps today I am fasting some consolable longings so that my heart will be moved to those who have so much less than I do at this moment. Maybe they need my attention and God is shifting my perspective to their needs rather than my own. Maybe that is what today is all about. I could easily give up my cable and my home phone – which I never use – even the additional phone lines I keep on my wireless plan to help those in need. I could – but, will I?
I think I need to allow the Lord to speak on this to me today. To rend my heart over these things and open my eyes to what it is He wants me to see today. Consolable longings come and go, but that which is eternal sustains and lasts beyond what I realize for just today.