This week, when a dusting of snow and some slivers of ice fell, Mississippi temporarily closed. No matter how much our neighbors to the north may laugh, everyone is much safer if Mississippians don't try to drive in even a little ice and snow.
The week had gone relatively smoothly until Wednesday afternoon -- when the power went out.
Remember back when you could program your lights to turn on and off when you clap your hands? Isaac the dog seemed to think we could control our lights with his barking.
He barked and barked, and amazingly the lights briefly came back on again. Then they went out again. Isaac, now a little too confident, barked so loudly and ferociously you'd have thought electricity were the UPS truck. This time, unfortunately, the "bark-on, bark-off" idea did not work.
Never fear, I told myself. My dad had sent me a battery-operated lantern that would help us through the growing darkness.
He had told me that batteries were not included, and to make sure I had the correct ones. When the lantern arrived, I glanced in the battery drawer to make sure I had 'D' batteries. A little too confident like Isaac, I texted and reassured my dad that I was prepared with all types of batteries!
I didn't take the time then to put the batteries in the lantern, so when the lights went out, I returned to the battery drawer. The lantern was open and ready for its 3 'D" batteries.
In the drawer lay sixteen AAA batteries, ten AA batteries, four C batteries, and two D batteries.
What?! It felt like someone had cut off the twelve days of Christmas before the final "partridge in a pear tree!" How on earth was I short one 'D' battery?
I loaded Isaac in the car, which finally hushed his 'running off the dark' with his barking, and off we went to the drugstore. I found a package of batteries that said "D2" in the corner.
Hmmm... wonder what the number two stands for? I asked myself.
There was another package that said D3.
Next to it was D4.
My heart rate increased.
What was the difference in all these D batteries?
Which one fits the lantern?
Should I just buy all of them?
Do I need to drive back home and see what kind of battery I already have?
I held the packages up next to each other, toward the light, to compare shapes and sizes.
They all looked the same! Good grief, why can't there be a universal battery for all our devices?
By this time, I was frustrated and growing concerned. The temperatures were below twenty degrees, and I feared how long we would be without heat. I had not been able to get through to the energy company to report the outage. And I was standing in the middle of a drugstore holding batteries over my head.
Eventually, I took a deep breath. I calmed down. My heart rate slowed. And I finally saw it.
The D2 package contained two batteries.
The D3 package had three.
You Looney Toon! I said to myself. You have a degree in math and you can't count batteries!
Then I started laughing. And I couldn't stop laughing. Sometimes we have to go through little panics to gain a bigger perspective.
Checking out, I shared my silly story with the clerk. She laughed with me (and probably at me a bit, too). She said, "You know, it's no wonder we're confused. Today is Wednesday, and it feels like Monday. We live in Mississippi, but it feels like Minnesota outside. But everything's gonna be alright."
This is the moment in the blog where I normally insert a Scripture and try to relate our everyday lives to the Word & workings of God. This week, I simply invite you to sit with the wise words of the drugstore clerk.
Everything's gonna be alright.
Take the time to laugh at yourself.
Trust that the cold darkness is only for a little while.
By the time we got home with the batteries, power had returned. Isaac the dog took full credit and demanded a treat. And the lantern with its three 'D' batteries has been on my beside ever since.
all good things to each of you,