I am glad to say that the power has been restored to both our parish offices and our parish home. Now if I can just remember, as I go from room to room, to turn the lights on instead of keeping them off. For the past week, I have grown accustom ed to the darkness , to the lack of power, to the simplicity of a day.
This Ice Storm, though it provided a lot of havoc, change of pace and destruction, also provided an opportunity for retreat. Retreating to one's home and being with one's family. Getting back to the basics of having to eat together, play together and be together. It was amazing to me that once the Sun went down, how my day was over and I retired for the evening.
I guess in all things - as a Catholic, as a Christian - I am challenged to ask myself the question: "Where is God in all of this?" He was in the stillness, which called me back to my center. He was in the "freedom" of a day, which was abandoned of meetings, tasks and trivial chores here and there. He was in the recognition that many of my brothers and sisters were in need; homeless, powerless and hungry. But most importantly, I rediscovered that God was here with me, as I lay alone in a dark, cold, lonely home all by myself.
The real challenge will be : how can I keep this experience, this "weather phenomenon out of the blue" in my heart, my mind and life forever! How can I take what I have learned from this experience and use it; to not only increase my awareness of my own actions and those around me, but how can I teach others, who have not experience d this blackout, to recognize the need for quiet, stillness, simplicity and recognition of others in need ?
This week, I will make my first ever visit to Missouri or better yet, as I have been told: MISSOURA! I will look forward to experiencing the Barbeque of St. Louis and the Bass Pro Shop of Springfield. But at the same time, I will challenge the people of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Springfield, Missouri to take time out of their busy schedules and lives to come together, one hour a night for four nights; to reflect, pray and renew themselves both individually and as a parish family. The Lord has given us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year -- it's sad if we can not rearrange our schedule, our lives, to at least give him back one hour a day.