1 to load to excess; overburden
It's been an interesting few days. Friday morning, I headed out with a group of friends for the beach. It started well: a fun trip down, with good conversation, lots of laughs and an easy ride, followed by margaritas and Mexican upon our arrival. While Saturday didn't bring clear skies (or warm temperatures), it brought many of the things I long for on vacation: a good book, a walk on the beach, time to create, a nap, good food and lots of chocolate. It also brought news that Nashville was being deluged. What started as a rainy day turned into 36 hours of water, that left my city overwhelmed.
Each and every one of us on this trip lives in Nashville or its surrounding areas, so we all made calls to make sure our families were safe and sound. Sadly, one friend had to head back Sunday morning after finding out her basement was filled with water up to her husband's knees (and it would keep rising until it was shoulder height). The rest of us decided to stay. I'm glad I didn't head back earlier. We had some water, but only a few inches and only in our basement. I couldn't have done much more than my sweet husband did on his own.
The interesting part is that by staying at the beach with seven other women, I heard more about the storm and was bombarded with more information, photos and stories than I would have been if I'd been at home. You see, I don't do news. Not on TV, not on the internet, not on the radio. But as everyone checked in with their circle of family and friends, they shared horror stories of flooded streets, homes struck by lightning and burned to the ground and more. I can turn off a TV, but I can't turn off my friends. So I listened and tried to still make the most of my vacation. But it was information overload for me. My mind felt the burden of the stories and images sent its way.
I don't want to give the impression that my trip was a waste. It wasn't. I had a lot of fun with some dear friends and met some new women as well. And I was blessed with an oasis or two in the midst of information overload.
The first oasis came late Saturday night. I checked my e-mail before heading to bed and found a Goodreads friend request from someone whose name I didn't recognize at first. Upon reading her message to me, I realized she was the author of a book I'd just read and loved. She was writing to say she felt my review captured the essence of what she was aiming for in her book and to let me know that she is hosting a discussion on the book this month. It was encouraging and affirming to receive her e-mail and it took me out of a place of worry about rain to a place of excitement that words I had written rung true for someone.
Another oasis was time with a sweet friend R who left Nashville and moved to the beach in August. R encourages me, is fun to be around and is wise beyond her years. She joined us for dinner at our rental house one night and then we had lunch together Monday and she showed me her home, drove me around and just spent time with me.
A final oasis came in the form of a message from an acquaintance. Frankly, she's someone I've always admired. She's fun and engaging, sure of herself, very obviously in love with her husband and when I'm around her I often think it would be so nice to get to know her better and be good friends with her. She was writing because she read my blog post about B's wish a while back when I shared my daughter's wish to be a good mom and my own desire for that, too. This new mom (she has a brand new baby daughter) wanted me to know she wants to be a mother like me. She said, in part, " I really admire you and the freedom and love your girls radiate." I believe any mom needs and craves affirmation that she's doing a good job so this message buoyed my spirit (and made my eyes fill with tears). Her words reminded me that one reason I do something like go on a beach trip without my family is to have a bit of time to recenter myself and recharge my batteries.
The recharging didn't go exactly as I had expected. Sunny skies and warm weather would have been nice. An easy weekend at home for my husband, mother-in-law and daughters would have been great. But I am so thankful that God cared enough to send me these three gifts in the midst of information overload. Because I'd rather focus on the provision of refuge and relief than the way life doesn't always go according to plan.