Majesty Palm

 I have always been intrigued by the palm tree. I truly appreciate the beauty and the “majesty” of the palm tree and tropical plants. There seems to be a sense of untouched and unmarked beauty to the tropics – they are a place like no other.

The palm however, has been a symbol of strength and stability. Growing tall, arms stretched out toward the sun. Yes, they are tropical plants and they do very well in warm, humid, sunny areas. I know I have owned many potted palms the last few years. And it seems that each year as the cold dark winter months lingered my palms slowly weakened and never returned to life. I was sad. I wanted to nourish them and care for them until again they could return to the warm sun and take their place on the patio outside. It seems this year I may be able to do this. I may actually get to see them thrive once again. Even though the outer fronds are getting withered and brown – there are still strong, fresh green shoots growing from the middle (heart) of the plant; Still willing to live and grow.

 This seems so fitting to this Sunday – Palm Sunday – the palm has been cited in the Bible as a symbol of triumph and victory, strength and prosperity. As we enter into this week – Easter week – again we are reminded of so much praise, pain, death and new life. Palm Sunday traditionally is filled with praise songs and ‘Hosannas’ and ‘Hallelujiahs’ and the week continues as Thursday turns cold, dark and painful. Saturday seems to linger and we are reminded of the price paid so long ago. We, in a bittersweet mood, dye Easter eggs and fill baskets with candy and lay out our Sunday bonnets. Now that I think of Easters as a child, it all seems so strange. But I also know that along with the cycles of the seasons and the seasons of life – Easter is a time of renewal. And even though today is a day of great rejoicing and victory. Just like my withered palm trees – new life will spring forth. Through the darkness, sadness and pain – there is hope. Just like my palms – I, we can stretch our hands high in praise and thanks. We can shout ‘Hosanna!’ We can sing ‘Hallelujiah’. For we again can remember the promise of new life and forgiveness.

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It was a jam-packed Saturday and I was feeling indisposed – just great! After a busy week of work, excercise, appointments and disappointments – I needed some time. I needed time to do more stuff, catch up on all my backed up work  and struggling for material, housework, vacuuming, cooking and scheduling. Did I mention I wasn’t tired?!?! What in the world?  I had so much to do and I was stressed – not tired- just stressed. Yet, I felt physically drained, mentally unwilling to complete any of these tasks and alone – in the dark. What am I to do? Well I decided to do the laundry – yes a collection of laundry baskets  had been adorning my “rather small” bedroom for months. It was time to go through it and put it in the drawers instead of just taking the clothes out of the dryer and throwing them into the clean laundry basket 🙂 to sift through when I needed  socks. Ok so the laundry was put away and there was a load in the washer – I was prepared to tackle that when I returned home, followed by vacuuming and cooking :-).

 I headed out to the store and interruption #1 – the gas points at GIANT were due to expire that day – so the entire city of Allentown was out to fuel up. Never mind I will come back later. After a quick run through the store, I headed home. Interruption #2 – my dear nephew (who is only a few years younger than I ) came by to use the computer. Which, by the way, I feel is terminal – hard drive may go at anytime – so I am uncomfortable with anyone using it. But I decided to share for a bit and that way I could tackle the laundry (drying), vacuuming and food preparations. 

 I gathered my materials on the kitchen counter – determined to bang out my work later on in the evening. And then it happened yes, three is a charm or a curse – interruption #3 – an Electrical Power Outage. Now I, we were in total darkness. What in the world to do now? With the little light I had left my step father handed me the flash light so I could find my cell phone and some candles. I called the power company only to find that we would be without power for the next 5 or 6 hours.

I found our box of advent candles, and set them up around our great room/kitchen since we’d be in the dark for a while. Mom decided to start our wood stove up since that would take the chill out of the air and as this happened it dawned on me that this “major interruption”  was not going to be so bad. See I was stressed to the max, I was busy all week and this Saturday was looking like it was going to be no different – until the power outage –  no telephone (well the fully charged cell phone worked :-), no tv, no computer, no coffee pot, no heat – completely cut off, from modern electrical conveniences – I had picked up some batteries at the store so the radio was on 😉 But we had to get conventional and a “bit” old-fashioned. This handy wood stove we have in our kitchen really saved the night. With our collection of newspapers, we had plenty of heat and enough to warm up some soup and water for tea. The night really came together and “brought us together”. We sat around the “fiery wood stove” and made paper logs and listened to the radio as we waited for the lights to kick back on. Though I rarely watch the tv, I missed it a bit – just because I couldn’t watch it, I felt the sudden urge for some coffee, even though it was 8PM. All these things that I really didn’t need or needed a break from suddenly haunted me a bit. And made me feel helpless like I was unable to cope with this darkness, this helpless feeling, this time when I really just needed to keep it simple, quiet and  “uninterrupted”. Wait but this was an interruption? Yes, this was an interruption from the distractions (telephones, YouTube, Tweetdeck notifications, TV) that were keeping me from focusing on work and important things (time with God, family, prayer and rest). So I had to spend a few hours in the same room with my family. The evening was filled with civil conversation, peace and a few other things:

Warm Glow

...a simple meal...

...some improvising....

....some folded laundry....

...a phone chit chat..."Yes, I even made dinner."

....clean dishes (we used the hot water from the wood stove)....

...battery operated, music...

and finally a bed time snack...since it was melting anyway!

 The night wasn’t that bad, I did get a lot of stuff done and most of what was on the list just in a different way. This small and short interruption brought out some critical thinking, togetherness and time away from distractions. When the stress piled up, I feel that God knew that we needed a break from our distractions. We weren’t miserable or crabby or worried (at least I wasn’t). I prayed for the utility workers that had to work in the rain (yeah electricity and rain there is just something scary about it – not sure why j/k) No seriously – we were inconvenienced for a night but we were safe and in no harm. And we have no idea who had to come out in the rain and ‘risk’ safety and security to restore our electricity. The simple blessings like a wood stove, a can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, salad and a box of candles – allowed the basic necessities to get us through the “storm” and power outage. It wasn’t that bad and it wasn’t that dark and we weren’t alone.

 Thank you, God, for this interruption and this opportunity to get away from the distractions that have been consuming me.  The opportunity to sit in the warm glow and peaceful quiet and listen and hear your voice was just awesome. A peacful night’s rest led into another day and another opportunity to see how blessed I am  – no catastrophe, no spilled or spoiled milk and the electric bill was high anyway – it was nice to know that it was off for a few hours ;-). All we needed was the simple things, family, quietness and God.