California’s Chaos

Darren sent this to us yesterday

Well….our power is set to be turned off at any time now. For the second time this week. It has been quite a ride navigating all of life without power. Not bad, mind you. Just interesting. Our schools are trying to figure out if they are holding classes or not. Some do, some do not….some modify their schedule. Most of the traffic signals are out and we are all four-way stopping…except at that light that is a five way stop….that one is just nuts without the lights working no matter what time of day you go through it and it is the main way to Costco….so most of us go through it. When the power is on, we all run around and wash our laundry, run the dishwasher, vacuum, go to the bank, get gas, stock up on groceries, drop off packages to mail, download anything we can off of the net, catch up on email, phone calls, texts and if we are really lucky, we can find a few minutes to stick up a blog post. Haha!

I have been running around like a wild lady, because in the midst of all of this power outage craziness I am trying to help our second son plan his wedding! We have a THIRD wedding this year! Which means I am trying to email contracts back and forth, and ordering and returning clothes online, and trying to communicate plans with the many people who are involved in our celebration….all with intermittent power and internet. So lovely!!

In the mean time, several of the people I work with in seminary (my director, his secretary, and other members of his staff) are being evacuated due to the fires in their area. I am not too put out about the power issues when my friends have no homes and are crashing with other family members so they have a place to be safe, while they await word of whether or not their belongings and those of their friends and family will be there when the fires are extinguished.

And what about those amazing men and women who are battling those blazes?!! What about them and their families as they put their lives on the line to save the rest of us? I have a few friends here whose husbands are fire fighters and they take time out of their rotations at their stations to go and help battle these blazes that come out of nowhere and consume everything in their path, living or not. Their families worry about them while they are away and breathe sighs of relief when they return home.

Meanwhile in Idaho, my little daughter is experiencing her first major snowfall and she sent the winter coat and boots she ordered here to California instead of to her in Idaho. Utah is set to have one of their coldest winters on record—of course, during our wedding.

During all of this physical upheaval, for all of these people (200,00 just for the fire evacuations!), there is emotional trauma and stress that goes along with all of it, whether you are one who is experiencing evacuation, battling the blaze, patiently pursuing power….or freezing in a frozen wasteland (not really a wasteland 😉). People are grumpy and stressed. How do we manage all of this chaos and still treat each other properly?

It is hard work!

But here are a few suggestions, which obviously cannot all be managed well all of the time because of the circumstances. But as much as possible:

  • Get adequate rest
  • Drink water (lots)
  • Try to eat regularly
  • Take time out to feel and process–even in emergencies, people need down time. It may be awhile before you have the things you need to be able to do this, but take a few moments wherever you can find them. Step outside. Breathe deeply. Cry (just do it!). You will be much more effective if you are not a time bomb that may explode at the drop of a hat.
  • Pray….it may have been a long time. That is OK. God is still there and He can hear you even if no words come out of your mouth! Reach out to Him. Know He is aware of you, even especially when times are hard. He IS there…it may take you a little while to notice. But as you are in a more stable place and choose to reflect on your experiences, you will see His hand in your life.
  • Look to serve….whatever circumstances you may be in and however had things are for you right now, recognize that there are those around you who are hurting too. You may be able to relieve some of their suffering. As you reach out to serve, even in your difficult circumstances, your heart will be comforted because you have acted the way Christ would have if He was there. Just reach out to those right now in your immediate circle….even if they are strangers. One of them may become one of your best friends!
  • Express gratitude for all of the little things, especially people. As we look around, even through all of our loss, and recognize the good we have (even for little things, like a glass of water, blades of grass, electricity, or the good men and women fighting to save you and your belongings), as we can see these things, they will bring us peace even amidst our turmoil. It will remind us that there IS good in the world! Maybe we have just been too busy and distracted to see it!
  • Above all, know that there are people out there who are praying for you! We know you are hurting and times are hard. But we are all watching the news, and in our hearts and homes, we are praying for your safety and your peace. Hang in there! Hold on!
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