Funny that today is one in which I began my morning singing aloud to Rend Collective’s “Counting Every Blessing.” God must have known that today would be one in which I need to count my blessings, not my problems, which truly, when you hear them, are not real problems. They are what some might call “first world” problems. That isn’t to say that some of my bigger problems in life aren’t significant, but once I took a moment to reflect on today’s inconveniences, I realized these little problems are truly insignificant and might have shown up as a reminder of my immeasurable blessings.
So, my day started out pretty normal and uneventful. I got up, glad to finally see morning sunshine instead of the fog and clouds that have hung around lately. I got dressed for a workout, then headed to the living room where my dog was being his usual disobedient self, sleeping on the couch. I tried not to be annoyed as I vacuumed up the thick layers of hair he had shed on the cushions, gave him a new comfy blanket for the chair we have that is now known as the dog’s chair, and proceeded to put a Revelation Wellness exercise video on my computer. About halfway through, the connection stopped. The spinning circle on the screen made me think the video was just having some trouble connecting. But, then I noticed all the digital clocks were blank, and realized the power was out. I remembered that notice that came in the mail about the power being out for a day, and realized this must be that day.
Really, now? That was my first reaction, annoyed that my workout was now interrupted and I’d have to figure out something else to do. Well, I can still play music, and do my own exercises, was my next thought, even though I really wanted someone else telling me what to do today so I wouldn’t have to think so much.
Then, my next big worry arose. Wait, I’m supposed to go to lunch today with friends. How am I supposed to do my hair with no power? Yes, please laugh at me after reading that because seriously, if that is my only problem for the day, life is super good. I decided I would worry about it later, that my friends didn’t care what my hair looked like, and therefore I shouldn’t either.
I finished my workout, doing my own thing to some good music, and as I was stretching, “Counting Every Blessing” came on. I told myself to listen to those words and actually follow them. I could easily become negative about the inconvenience of no power today and how that would impact not only my hair, but the other things I wanted, like a cup of coffee or an internet connection to work on my writing that was on Google docs. These are the things I could let consume me. I refocused, and reminded myself that I didn’t need any of these things. I could live without coffee. I could write in a journal. I could have more time without having to dry my hair. I could be thankful that I had these non-necessities every day of the year and be grateful, not annoyed.
So, I showered, got dressed quickly by choosing something that didn’t need to be ironed (actually another blessing), and then stared at my wet hair. I know. I said not to worry. Let it go. No one cares, literally no one but me, and then I got an idea. I have a set of Velcro hair rollers that I got years ago, not sure why because I never use them. Maybe now is the time to try them, I thought. So, I did. I put my hair in the rollers and then wondered what on earth to do with myself while I waited for my hair to dry. Oh, I can make some coffee, oh wait, no I can’t. Maybe tea? Nope, the stove doesn’t even light without power, so I can’t heat up water. Hmmm, maybe the water from the faucet will get hot enough to make tea? I’ll try that! With new enthusiasm, feeling like this is what it must be like to live in the 1800’s (not!), I walked to the kitchen, pulled out a mug and a green tea bag, and ran the water until it was as hot as possible. Then I filled the mug, waited a couple minutes, and took my first sip. Lukewarm. That’s the best description of what I got – lukewarm green tea. The 1800’s might be better because they could heat water over a fire. Oh well, better than nothing.
I checked the time on my phone and realized I didn’t have much time before I had to leave. Worried my hair wouldn’t even be dry, I decided to bring my tea outside, as my hair would likely dry quicker that way. I grabbed my journal, my Bible, a Trader Joe’s scone (yes, another blessing), my lukewarm tea, and headed for the table in my backyard. Okay, this isn’t so bad, I thought, hoping no one could see me in my 1950’s style rollers from where I was sitting, and that no one came to the door for any reason. The sun was warm, birds sang, all was peaceful. But then the dog began barking.
The dog barking is not unusual, nor is it a big deal because I can tell him to stop, entice him with a treat or something to distract him. But, this was not his normal bark. He would bark and then pause, staring down at the ground near our lemon trees, then bark again. I called him several times with no response, and then remembered that the last time he barked this way it was at a snake. Oh please don’t let it be a snake, I thought. I knew I had to get up and look.
I approached hesitantly, and there, beneath my dog’s vicious growl, was not a snake (yes, blessing) but a mouse, frozen from either shock or death, I wasn’t sure which.
“Max, come on. Move away.” My dog didn’t listen. I tried not to be grossed out by the dead mouse, went back to the table just as my phone rang, showing my daughter was calling. Since she’s traveling right now, I of course needed to answer and was so glad to hear from her in spite of the fact that I had a barking dog, a dead mouse, and rollers in my hair.
I answered in what I thought was a calm, happy tone. “Hello!” I said.
“Uhhh, hi. Is everything okay?” she asked.
So much for the calm tone. Clearly I’m a bad actress.
“Well, let’s just say you caught me at a moment of chaos.”
I put her on hold while I guided the dog away from the mouse with my scone, went back inside, and sat down to enjoy a conversation with my daughter. When I explained the events of my morning, she laughed, and so did I as it sounded much more ridiculous retelling it all, and by the time we finished talking, I realized I was now late for lunch and I still had those stupid rollers in my still damp hair!
I quickly pulled them out, tousled my hair a bit, tried to be okay with whatever this look was, and then got in the car while calling my friends to tell them to go ahead and order without me, that I was on my way.
I ended up simply ordering an iced tea once I arrived, as my friends had already ordered and I was not going to ignore them in order to sift through the novel length menu to choose something this late in the game. But, you know what? I didn’t even care. I had made it there, bad hair and all, and I felt at one with it all.
The smiles on my friend’s faces, their hugs, their joy, their stories, some which were of actual problems, not dumb hair or power problems, reminded me of my blessings. They are my blessings. My home, power or not, is a blessing. Lukewarm tea is a blessing. My daughter safe and sound even though she’s far away, talking to me, is a blessing. Life, in its good and bad, messy or neat, is a true, true blessing.
So, I’m going to keep counting my blessings today, like the song says:
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to me
And my prayer for all of you is that you also find blessings today. Through the little or big problems, may you know you have a good, good God who wants to give you immeasurably more than the things we have the power to see.