Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Power Outage

April 14, 2009

For a few hours, losing power in your home is not so bad. You can write letters by hand (how novel) and work through the paper stack. You can still cook with a gas cook-top, so there is no excuse for dinner. You can walk the dog and work in the garden. You can clean your house. You can write on your laptop until the battery is gone. You could take a nice quiet nap (I wish I had thought of that one earlier). You can have dinner by candlelight and listen to the evening birds instead of the air conditioner fan. And when after 24 hours you awaken to still no power you can treat yourself to coffee made in your seldom used French press (ooh-la-la!) before you turn to the daunting task of cleaning out the refrigerator.

We take it for granted. And we depend on it to provide conveniences and luxuries that we have gotten used to through the years – like dishwashers and hair dryers and garage door openers. But a lot of the conveniences electricity provides sometimes takes away the charm of the simpler life – candles, one-skillet suppers, conversations in the dark, no alarm clocks, and although I admit I constantly was listening somewhere in my mind to hear the familiar hum return, there is a definite charm to silence. Silence gives you time to think – or not think without disturbance.

Dr. Feelgood and I witnessed in silence a beautiful sight last week on the golf course. It was Good Friday, but it had been a bad week for me in general. I was missing Megan. It seemed I was having my own “power outage” throughout the week with little energy, little hope, and little strength to keep trudging through this grief process. I had just finished about the 100th book on grieving – this one by Paula D’Arsy who says that the “power outage” or bad times are a real good sign that healing is occurring – that one is moving through it and not stuck somewhere in the process. I hope she is correct.

But back to the beautiful sight. We were finishing up on the last hole and I just happened to glance up. I motioned to Mike and there above us were five – yes, five – snow white doves circling above us. They lighted on the clubhouse and watched as we finished and then took flight. Now, I have never seen a snow white dove, but I do remember the song,
“On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove.”

I asked several people and no one had ever seen white doves at the golf course. Was it a sign from above? I read that often white doves are bred and trained for something called “White Dove Releases” where they are let go at special occasions like weddings or memorials, and the smart birds then return to their homes. I like to think they were delivering us a message, sending us “His pure sweet love, a sign from above on the wings of a dove.” My heart is always softened by the beautiful vulnerability of nature – the total dependency of creation waiting for God to reveal himself. The Bible speaks of doves – one returned to Noah with an olive branch as a message of found land, doves were used for sacrifices, and a dove descended on Jesus at His baptism. And so why would God not allow nature to speak to us when human words, books, and therapy do not always work. A bird sometimes can say more words to me than Webster, just in their dependency, and their varied and constant message of hope. Just this week, I have spotted three nests outside my door – all different, all singing a different song. Not everyone will make it, but they work hard in their obedience to creation. Their power does not run out. It is in looking up to see what is being offered. Five white doves above me said, “Look at my wings, waving down pure sweet love from above. We will be together again. All is well!”

I am grateful for those five white doves. Nancy Guthrie says in her book, 52 Weeks of Hope “Gratitude plows up the ground for God’s peace to grow.” Time to reset the clocks, recharge the phones, and get gardening, I suppose. But I could not close without sharing this with you:

On the Wings of a Dove
Do not come to my grave and cry
Look up instead toward the sky
For wings of white as they fly by.
Don't come to stand and weep or bring
Dying flowers. Instead please sing
A song or feel the autumn wind
As is blows past your tender cheek.
That is me. I am not asleep.
I'm in the rain on summer days.
I'm with the children as they play.
I have not gone so far away.
Look among stars shining at night.
See me riding on rays of light
Gently brushing leaves. Watch a flight
Of Snow White Doves. They always tease
My soul, and then so softly weave
It through clouds of white, over seas,
Under the breeze, and far above
The trees, knitting like yarn my love.
I'm there on the wings of a dove.
Do not visit my grave and weep.
I am near. I am not asleep.
~ by Sandra van Riper

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