In the midst of flood concerns and evacuation, I missed last week’s Friday Quick Takes roll, so thought I’d try this time. So, here’s my after-flood attempt. (For more Friday Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.)
1. Flood. I’m afraid the majority of my quick takes are going to have everything to do with the North Dakota flood. Kind of hard to escape that reality, having just come back from Minnesota, where the kids and I fled for seven days to get away from the stress of the rising Red River. So, maybe I’ll just go with what I’ve got and write mainly about what I’ve learned through this ordeal. By the way, I addressed the flood in my latest parenting column for our local newspaper. You can find that article here.
2. Lesson 1. The same but different. A friend encapsulated my thoughts upon returning to our flood-ravished city well when she said in an email note today: “Everyone’s routine is still so out of sorts, like we woke up and everything LOOKS the same but is different.” She’s among those who stayed behind and waited it out, but this is how I as we drove into the city this afternoon. The sun was shining and the lessened tension, obvious: roads were reopened, people walked around in areas that had been closed to traffic of any kind but military days earlier, stores flashed “open” signs in windows once again. But despite the normalcy of outside appearances, I, too, could feel the permanent change in our city. In some ways, it’s like a communal grieving, similar to the more singular grieving that takes place when someone dear dies and the world continues humming along as if nothing has changed. But it’s not all negative. Some of the changes that have come from our misfortune will be life-giving. We’ve bonded in a way that would not have been possible otherwise, and saw more deeply into one another’s hearts through it, and that counts for something good.
3. Lesson 2. If you can’t find a way, God just might and good friends are like gold. My friend, Mary, had been inviting me to come to her new home in Minnesota for several months, but the opportunity to clear the schedule and get away for a few days did not seem likely anytime soon. The flood provided an unexpected opportunity for that visit to happen, though, certainly, in different circumstances than either of us would have imagined. I feel like our brood of six helped break in Mary’s new home through our being the first visitors of significant duration. What an honor and incredible blessing. And it was especially heartening to see our kids bond in ways that would not have been possible from a mere weekend visit. We shared real life with our hosts (in all, there were two adults and nine kids for seven days) and we’ll always be grateful for the refuge and generosity.
4. Lesson 3. Seize the moment. When the snow started falling and school for our Minnesota friends was let out a few hours early Tuesday, there was only one thing to do: make snowmen and have a snowball fight. One of my favorite moments of our visit was watching the kids, even (especially) the big boys, pull on whatever winter gear they could scrounge up to capitalize on nature’s surprise gift: an end-of-March snow-drenching. See more.
5. Lesson 4. The Lenten surprise. Little did I know at the beginning of Lent that the pouring of faith words into my brain and heart through Lenten readings would prove to be vital nourishment a few weeks later. In other words, the first part of Lent, in a sense, strengthened me spiritually for the second part of Lent, though I had no idea why I was so on fire for part I. I see now that God was preparing me for what was to come, and giving me spiritual resources in advance to help carry me through the rough patches. I was like a squirrel storing up nuts for the harsh weather ahead, not knowing exactly how tumultuous that weather would prove to be.
6. Lesson 5. New website up and running! It took most of my week away to set it up, but I’ve accomplished a needed changeover in my author website (host change), and now have it viewer-ready. Though I’ve got more layers to add, at least it’s a start. I see this site more as the “brochure” of my writing work, and my blog as more of an active account of my life as a parent and writer. Please take a look if you have a moment at: roxanesalonen.com.
7. New read. Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith and Friendship by Diane Schoemperlen. I found this book on a “please help yourself” bookshelf in my grandma’s condo complex basement a while back, and decided this would be a good time to give it a try. It’s a fictional account of Mother Mary’s visit to the home of a writer, and depicts Mary as a regular old person in need of a resting place to temporarily escape the concerns of the world.
There’s so much more that has come from the recent week-plus, but I’m keeping it quick for now.
May your weekend be restful and peace-filled.