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Revelations: How big I'm blessed

Nov. 18, 2011 at 5:18 a.m.


BY JENNIFER PREYSS

If you listen to Christian radio, you've probably heard Francesca Battistelli's, "This Is The Stuff."

If you don't, the tongue-in-cheek Christian chart-topper depicts a woman experiencing a crazy week: losing her keys and phone "in the great unknown," getting pulled over for speeding and dealing with sirens and fines while running late.

"This is the stuff that drives me crazy. This is the stuff that's getting to me lately. In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed. This is the stuff that gets under my skin. But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing. It might not be what I would choose, but this is the stuff You use," she sings.

I thought of her song at least four times last week, as my week began to unfold in a miserly fashion.

I recalled the lyrics earlier in the week, as I was sitting in my car (which had run out of gas) waiting for my friend to come pick me up. I'm still not sure how I managed to ignore the gas gauge slipping below the empty line, but it happened, and I was stuck waiting for a ride.

Though frustrated, I allowed myself to giggle at the ridiculousness that had become my evening - and started to reflect on Battistelli's song.

When my friend arrived with a gallon of gasoline, she and I laughed somewhat louder and longer at my blooper. I went to the nearest gas station and filled up. Problem solved. And at least the night was over, I told myself.

But the next morning, my idiocy continued. I woke up with no electricity. I apparently ignored the electric bill, also. I haven't had my electricity cut off since I was 20 years old, and that was a joint roommate blunder.

As I went to find my wallet to pay the bill, I realized my wallet was missing.

Enter overwhelming panic. I searched my house, my car, my office, the trash, the refrigerator and made several phone calls to stores and restaurants I recently frequented. It wasn't anywhere to be found. But I checked my bank account, and decided since my funds hadn't depleted, the wallet wasn't stolen, it was misplaced and would certainly turn up.

I finished out the day at work and went home to a darkened home. I lit as many candles as I could find, and used my laptop (sans power cord) and cell phone wifi to access the Internet. It was too late to pay the electric bill for the day, so I decided I would just have to suck it up and wait until morning to resume my wallet search and figure out how to pay the bill.

Several friends asked me that night if I wanted to sleep at their house, or if I needed anything to hold me over until the next day. But I assured them I'd be fine. It wasn't freezing outside, nor was it 110 degrees anymore. And I've had enough experience in the mission field to know what "roughing it" really looks like. A night without television, I could manage that.

The next morning, the sun shined through my apartment, illuminating the space in a way I never noticed before. With the electricity still shut off, it occurred to me, I may have a checkbook stored somewhere in the back of my closet (I'm a check card person).

So as I went to search for the checkbook, I spotted my wallet laying on the floor. There's no telling how it landed there.

I laughed again, and thought of Battistelli's song. Then I called the electric company and paid the bill. It would take up to eight hours to have lights again, they said.

In the meantime, I lit a few candles and placed them around my bathroom vanity so I could take a shower. And as I staggered the candles throughout the lightless bathroom, something a little less funny occurred to me.

Every day, there are people living around the world without indoor plumbing, clean water or electricity. It's a luxury, not the norm. They don't have electricity bills to pay, or private automobiles to maintain, and therefore, wouldn't even worry about running out of gas. It was one of those moments, where I realized how blessed I really was, just like the song illustrates.

I walk around every day with so many material things that I'm not even capable of realizing how blessed I am until my electricity goes out, and I have to depend on sunlight, or my car runs out of gas, and I realize how lucky I am to have transportation at all.

Throughout the week, I had at least five people ask me how they could help me with my silly little problems. And I realized if they could do that for me, then I should probably be more proactive about asking those truly in need, what I can do for them.

Maybe on some level, God decided to use this crazy week to refocus my thoughts on what's really important and help me realize how much I'm truly blessed, just like it says in the song.

Jennifer Preyss is a reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach her at 361-580-6535 or jlpreyss@vicad.com.

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