Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dead Batteries

When I arrived here, my sister in law picked me up from the airport and brought me to my hotel. While I was checking in, she went to move the car, and found out that her car had died. We called for a tow and waited for the truck to come get her car, and her husband to pick us up for a dinner together. It was frustrating, but folks came to our rescue with little waiting and little damage done to our plans. Yesterday, John and Andrea came to collect me, and after lunch, John dropped us off at the mechanic to pick up the repaired car. Then Andrea and I headed out to the botanical gardens -which are stunning- to have a look around, enjoy the spring air and the warm sunshine. I brought my camera along so I could take pictures as there was much beauty to record. When I tried to take pictures, nothing happened and I realized my wonderful new camera battery had run out of charge. I was frustrated that I couldn't capture that wonderful place and our experience together. We took it all in, the colors and displays covering a range of dramatic effects from elegant to whimsical. And we talked a lot together.

We got back in the car to drive the short distance into the old town square. As we pulled into the square the car died again. We went through the whole routine again. Again the tow came and we were collected without too awful or long of a wait. But the frustration had definitely mounted, especially with the mechanic who had done the repair. We eventually recovered from that and enjoyed a lovely dinner together. But there were a lot of dead batteries .

For a brief moment I wondered if my presence had some how changed the magnetic field in their lives (and mine). Was I somehow the cause of it? And now, I have begun to ponder the spiritual implications of my dead camera battery, and all the dead batteries that occur in life. I wanted to capture a moment on film, but the time together was no less wonderful without my lame attempt to be artistic. The car, which in its failing kept us from hitting all the tour spots we had planned out, did not detract from our conversation. In fact, maybe we were more real and compassionate with one another. All of us understands the frustration of a failed car, a broken plan, the absolute loathing of being stuck. We were stuck together, and I can't help but think that there was a blessing in being stuck together. We had no plan but to help each other through.

So for today, I am going to try to be grateful to God for seeing me through, for sticking me together with fine people, and helping me to take my eyes of the distance and focus on the close up - the here and the now. It is what we have - each other where ever we have been planted. And I can let the batteries of the world make me angry and frustrated, or I can plop down on a bench, get a drink of water, and take in the people and the world around me. The recharging of the batteries - my batteries - is as much about sitting down in the sunshine with someone I love and enjoying their presence, knowing it is fleeting and a gift. I pray that God can give me the strength to plug in and recharge and be grateful for all the breakdowns and failures in my life. They are moments of recharge, of restoring, of seeing the immediate and leaving go the distant.

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