Last week's disaster - a massive electrical emergency only a few days before Christmas, a several thousand dollar repair, hours and days without power in large parts of our house and an entire weekend of feeling like our home and lives were patchworked and pieced together and only half-functional - has shone a sharp light on how much we have and how much we should be grateful for.
Even with half the electricity out in our home, we were still in a home with electricity - lights, heat, a television, a refrigerator full of food. Even with the anxiety we had over the crippling cost of this unplanned home emergency, we knew we could manage the repair somehow. Even with the sadness over our home feeling less than perfect for our kids over the holidays, we still had a cozy, happy home to celebrate Christmas in - even if we had to celebrate it by candlelight.
In how many parts of the world is the lifestyle we take for granted an unreachable dream? Electric lights and cable television and forced-air furnaces are first world luxuries. Even in this part of the world, in the wealthiest city in the country - at this time last year half the city was without heat and electricity and forced out of their homes for the holidays thanks to that winter's devastating ice storm. It's important to have perspective.
Our own little emergency was fixed first thing Monday morning. It cost more than we would have liked, but significantly less than we originally thought. Our home was back up and running well before Christmas and I even had time to bake a final few batches of shortbread in our fully-functioning oven before Christmas Eve.
Everything is back to normal and our family holidays have been spent cozied up in our happy little home with the fireplace blazing and the Christmas lights twinkling, watching Christmas movies and eating Christmas cookies and playing with our new Christmas toys. We are back to a fully functioning first world home and I couldn't be more grateful. But I am also grateful for the perspective this experience has given me.
I wish for all of you a joyful holiday season filled with warmth and happiness and too much to eat and drink. I hope that you are surrounded by people you love. I wish you full bellies and a place to come home to that you can call your own. Be grateful for what you have. Love and family are all that really matter.