Some of you have followed my saga on my FB timeline. Our boat’s furnace died nine days ago, and we’ve been living without heat (apart from two little space heaters) since. If we were in the South Pacific, that wouldn’t matter! But living in Vancouver’s damp winter cold is another story.
And then there’s the feeling of being held hostage by circumstances beyond our control. The furnace repair guy, bless his heart, is run off his feet with work. Several times we’ve rearranged our schedules to be here at the time he said, but then he’s canceled or texted to say he’ll be later than expected…and then texted again to say he’ll be later than expected. We wait and postpone and reschedule and cancel because we need to be here when he shows, but all for naught. You get the picture.
Yesterday afternoon Mr. Fix-it installed the repaired furnace. It ran well for a few minutes. He packed up his tools and went home, and then it died. My hubby worked on it until bedtime and started again at 6:00 AM today, trying everything he knows to do but without success. He texted Mr. Fix-it a couple hours ago; he just replied saying he’ll come by tonight. Time will tell. Meanwhile, Gene’s efforts have pushed him further and further behind in the office.
I rose early this morning and carried our dirty laundry to the marina laundromat before the sun came up. As I walked, I felt my thoughts slipping into a negative mindset. Poor me. Here I am, a 60-year-old woman living on a boat—in winter—with no heat. Carrying her laundry in the cold. In the dark. Blah, blah, blah.
One word came to mind: Toxic.
“Don’t go there, Grace,” an inner voice whispered. “Stop whining. Give thanks instead. Do it.”
I passed a marina resident hobbling across the parking lot on crutches. Whatever his condition is, it appears permanent. I’ve never seen him walk without these aids. The sight sparked gratitude for my two healthy legs. Self-pity began losing its grip.
Two empty washing machines awaited me. I had two loads of laundry. Perfect. “Thank You, Jesus, for reserving these for me.”
I’d have thirty minutes before needing to transfer our clothes to the dryers, so I headed back to the boat. Frost covered the dock, making it a slippery danger. The marina stocks a big box with salt for days like this. The last time I looked inside, it was empty. This morning, it was full. “Thank You, Jesus, for salt to melt the frost.” I filled a bucket and sprinkled it along the entire dock, praying for my neighbors as I passed their boats.
When I checked my emails, I read about a Pakistani believer named Asia Bibi. She’d already endured imprisonment for nine years. Recently released and acquitted, she now faced a judicial review of the same charges that sent her to prison in the first place. If found guilty, she faced hanging. I paused. I prayed for my persecuted sister. And I pondered. Suddenly living without heat for nine days didn’t seem so bad.
This inconvenience shall pass sooner or later. Meanwhile, I have a warm blanket to spread across my legs. I have food in the fridge and propane on which to cook it. I have clothes to wear and wash. And I have a husband who works tirelessly without complaint. I also have a Savior who cares enough to warn me when I’m heading into Toxic Territory.
How long will this saga continue? I really have no clue. But this one thing I do know—I choose, by God’s strength, to give thanks in the midst of it.
For what are you thankful today, my friend?