Unexpected Blessings

On a chilly morning early one spring, seconds after I waved good-bye to my husband and kids on their way to work and school, I received a text from my son.

“Pls get pics of moon! Dad says good camera not phone.”

“Oh, that’s right,” I thought, glancing out the window, “There’s an eclipse. And a blood moon to boot, whatever that means.”

Before I had time to remember what, exactly, that did mean, I received another text.

“Hurry! Setting.”

“Okay, okay,” I muttered – and texted – my reply. So while the moon proceeded on its downward course, I shoved on my shoes, decided I didn’t need a coat as it didn’t seem too cold, grabbed the good camera (decided to bring my phone along too), opened the door – ran back upstairs for the tripod – and then, slamming the door behind me, trotted over to the west side of the yard.

For several seconds I struggled to attach the camera to the tripod, but it was dark and I couldn’t get it. I finally gave up as the moon wasn’t stopping to wait for me, hopped for a steady hand, and began shooting pictures.

They turned out okay. Mostly it was neat just seeing the tail end of the eclipse in person without a viewfinder in the way.

Finally, feeling a little chilly and in need of some coffee, I picked up my gear and headed back to the front door. I turned the doorknob.

And discovered that the door was locked.

In the nine years of living in this house, this had never happened before. Optimistically, I tried all the doors – knowing full-well that they were locked too. Finally I sat down on the kitty house – the only dry spot on the deck owing to a light rain in the night – and sent a text to my husband.

After that I looked around the deck and felt the chill of the morning begin to sink in. I gazed longingly through the sliding glass door at the news, blaring away to an empty and warm house so close…and yet unreachable.

Seeing that only made me feel colder.

I checked my phone weather app. It was 39 degrees. I shivered and gazed around in growing despair. I had a moment right then. I could sit there and find things to complain about…or I could enjoy myself.

For a few moments I couldn’t decide which direction to choose – the way of self-pity or the way of hope. I looked around for the cats, feeling like their warmth might help me decide.

“Why do they always turn up underfoot when you don’t need them and when you do want a warm cat on your lap they’re nowhere to be seen?” I think I actually said this out loud.

Finally, I decided that cats or no cats, misery was dumb.

Then Colin texted that he’d be there as soon as he could. Okay. Awesome. I can do this.

I stood up and began walking around, snapping photos of frost on the grass and listening to the early-morning sounds. Cows in the field. Twittering birds. A Pheasant. Then a whole flock of ducks flew overhead, the sound of the wind through their wings filling the air.

I looked around my yard, across the street to the fields of corn, up at the blue, blue, sky. And I began to pray.

“Thanks that it’s not windy, God. That would have made this time pretty unbearable. As it is, it’s not so bad. Thanks that I grabbed my phone on my way out the door. Thanks for technology that can bring Colin back to rescue me without my having to walk a quarter mile to my neighbors in my pajamas. Thanks that Colin is not out of town like he was supposed to be this week. Thanks for the sounds, and scents, and beauty of this morning.”

I heard a car approach, heard it slow down. The garage door opened. One of the cats appeared.

I was saved.

But, really, I had been blessed already.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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