The Dark Night
This time last week, I was editing a video for our YouTube channel. Our Part Time Pastures account may be unfamiliar as it is focused on homesteading, not courage and compassion (well, maybe infused with it a bit since I am the creator and editor). It's been a fun project to flex my creative muscle in new and different ways - the yang to my feminine The Brave Kind yin.
Upload speeds are always slow with our broadband internet. That morning, however, it slowed to a crawl. At the same time, Ryan began complaining about his own mobile connection. He was in the middle of placing an order for a coworker's Christmas gift. Panicked, he worried it might charge him multiple times as he refreshed the page.
Suddenly, we realized we were in a nightmarish story of tech gone wrong. Our internet service was completely down.
What's even more horrifying to me than a Wifi service outage is the reliance we put on it. I'd wanted to purchase sheets that day for when my parents visited. What was I going to do without Amazon at my fingertips? No streaming television or Instagram reels? Ryan grew as bored as a five-year-old child within minutes.
I was mostly dismayed by the fact that I wouldn't be able to host my virtual singing bowl sound bath that evening. I ran through the backup options I could use to support the event, but nothing seemed viable. Add to that the complexity of not being able to send emails to alert the attendees to the issue. I typed up a Facebook message, clicked send, and hoped for the best.
My plans for a weekly blog were dashed too, resulting in the crushing realization that I would have to forego the weekly cadence I'd promised in early November. I'm not in the business of letting people down, even though it's usually a lesson in extending myself the same grace that others offer in these extenuating circumstances.
Everything in our entire lives was put on hold in an instant. Dramatic, I know.
Ryan and I killed some time by running an errand in town. It didn't take long and not much else is open on a Sunday in a town of three thousand (besides ten churches, of course). I suggested on our way home that we drive to the movie theater in Brownwood nearly an hour away. We wouldn't be able to look up showtimes, but we could pick up a signal somewhere between here and there and get an idea of options. I could also use available service there to message my sound bath guests and reschedule the event.
Although it was a rainy day, Ryan and I enjoyed the drive there. We listened to the remainder of a Flightless Birds podcast we'd started the week before, offering our own commentary on the topic of "news". We pondered improvements we could make to the farm, inspired by the perpetually changing landscape on the drive. No matter how many times we make it, there is always something we've never noticed, or something new to add to the conversation.
When we arrived in Brownwood to the Heartland Mall, a sad strip center whose cinema looks like the backdrop for a scene from Stranger Things, we had timed it just right. Several movies were about to tee up for our entertainment. We chose "Black Adam", then ordered our giant tub of popcorn and smothered it with oily butter topping. The dregs of popcorn were a disappointment, but the movie was not.
Before the film began, I messaged my sound bath attendees and gave them the option to switch dates or attend a make-up session that Wednesday night, on the actual New Moon. Moving the session also meant that my mother could attend in person, another wonderful byproduct of the switch. Everyone accepted the postponement with the aforementioned grace that I'd been unwilling to give myself earlier in the day. The mountain I'd made out of a molehill shrunk back to its reasonable size.
When Ryan and I got home, our Wifi was still down. We chatted about the movie, along with what the upcoming week would look like. It would include an unpleasant minor medical procedure for me (all clear), a week of vacation days for Ryan, and then a visit from my parents accompanied by our traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We went to bed that night, true pioneer style, by 9 p.m, the recent time change and the dark night outside making it feel like midnight.
The next morning involved some fits and starts with our Wifi service, including a complete shutdown during the only short meeting I had on my schedule. It has cooperated ever since, but naturally there is a lesson about gratitude woven into the experience.
Gratitude for simplicity. Gratitude for my husband. Gratitude for the grace of others. Proof once again that the cliché rings true: no matter how lemon-y life feels, it can always result in the sweet taste of lemonade (or Thanksgiving Day lemon ice box pie, as the case may be).