My honey and I celebrated our anniversary last weekend with dinner and a show at our local community theatre. It was an awesome Saturday date night, and Sunday morning we attended Mass with our kids and my parents, as usual. The second reading for Sunday was Romans 8:35, 37-39, which reads
Brothers and sisters:
What will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life,
nor angels, nor principalities,
nor present things, nor future things,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth,
nor any other creature will be able to separate us
from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
During his sermon, Father Tom talked about this reading and used a very good metaphor for our attitudes when it comes to Christ’s love. He said that when a potter makes a vessel, the way he knows if it is a “good” is to thump it. If it thuds, it’s no good. If it sings, it is good. We each get “thumped” all the time. When things don’t go as planned, when we lose someone we love, when something threatens a relationship, this is getting thumped. When we are thumped, we can choose to thud, or we can choose to sing.
If we choose to sing, we look on the bright side. We tell ourselves that God has a plan. We have faith and know that God will get us through it.
About a month ago, our little Illinois town was hit by the worst thunderstorm we’ve had in as long as I can remember. We, along with the majority of our county, were without power for two days. The damage was mainly to trees, branches falling on powerlines and houses, only a few injuries, and one reported death (that I can remember). We had no cell phone service at all the first day, and just a few gas stations were open. The traffic lights weren’t working, and most of the groceries stores were closed until many hours later. Thump.
Within this whole ordeal, there were many “thudders.” People who honked and were impatient when they had to turn around because of downed trees on the road. People who saw life without power as the most devastating thing ever. People who couldn’t stop complaining about the whole situation. I know I had my moments to thud. I had slight road rage at the now four way stops that previously had traffic lights. I found myself asking, exasperated, “Do people just not know the rules of a four way stop, or are they just not paying attention?!”
I like to think that most of us were “singers” for the most part. Friends with power were helping out those who didn’t have it yet. The men and women who work for Ameren CIPS (our power company) were local heroes. My parents, who did have power, stored all of our freezer and refrigerator food so it wouldn’t all get ruined. We grilled out and used candles and pretended we lived in the 1800s.
Facebook was littered with statuses like “Thanks to our Ameren workers” and “Thanking God no one was hurt during this storm” and “Praying for all the families affected by the storm.” My personal favorite was by my friend Leigh (who I believe copied it from someone else… someone take credit here, and let me know!)
Friends without power: I have power! Come juice up your computer, refrigerate your medicine, blow dry your hair, charge your cell phone, hang out under a fan, watch the news, or just flip on and off a lightswitch now and again to feel better. Whatever you may need, please don’t hesitate to call. I would love to help you! You might even get lucky and get a meal out of it…
She was truly a “singer” during our little disaster. When things go wrong in a community, it seems like people come together, and I know I have a brighter outlook on people in general because of the kindnesses shown to me and others. Christ’s love was present throughout our community.
I call this our little disaster, and even though it wasn’t all that bad, it puts life in perspective. On the news tonight, CBS was showing pictures from the drought in Somalia, starving children, crying mothers, looks of death on their faces. Christ still loves each of them, even in these horrid conditions. Nothing can separate them from His love.
It makes me realize the gift we have of living in America. We truly are in a land of prosperity. So today, I’m thankful that I was able to feed my children tonight, and that we have power and running water. The love of Christ is all around us.
When is the last time you were “thumped” in your life? Are you a singer or a thudder?