* Today’s post brought to you by my mobile data *
There’s an expression in French… « soupe au lait ». It is used to describe someone (or something) that’s unpredictable, who can change moods quickly, someone of whom you want to be a bit wary. The quick explanation is that soup is hot and milk is cold… opposites… extremes.
If that expression comes to mind, it’s because Liz used it the other day to describe the weather the past few days… unpredictable. In the same day, we can have sun, showers, ominous clouds, blue sky, light breezes and heavy winds. Make no mistake, we’re well into Spring, but there are days…. It seems that our worlds, these days, is very much “soupe au lait”.
If I could draw on a somewhat related expression (about “extremes”) for the purposes of today’s post, it’d be “pleasure and pain”, for there’s been a bit of both over the past few weeks. Let’s start with the pain and work our way to the pleasure…
Pain (in the neck)
As you’ve noticed… I’ve been MIA both on the blog as well as in social media. The simple explanation is that, as of writing, we’ve been without internet now for 3 weeks and 2 days and as yet, unable to actually speak to anyone from the service provider. We were supposed to have a technician come on Thursday, but he was a no-show and there was no indication as to why. Yesterday was France’s Labour Day… so nothing more happened and the company was unreachable. Due to confinement, we can’t go to the storefront and bang our fists on the counter demanding service (as we’d like to do).
I mean really… in what developed country do you have to go 3 weeks with no internet and no toll-free number where you speak to an actual human being.
We made the best of it for the first while but you’d be surprised what you use internet for (that you don’t even think about) and what you can’t do without it. It’s been hard by times but we “stiff-upper-lipped” it.
Thursday and yesterday, though, were tough. Things & thoughts came to a head and the disconnection was felt particularly poignantly. I don’t mean just the disconnection from the internet… but disconnection from just about everyone… all those micro-interactions that, from the other side of the world, still let you feel connected to home whether it be via Instagram comments, Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging, facetime, etc.
…at a time when those micro interactions have also been cut off physically due to confinement. Our world has gotten a LOT smaller over the past few weeks and interactions have been limited to our immediate neighbours (from across the fence or the lane, at a 1-2m distance), the odd fellow dog-walker that mosies past our house, or the odd person we come across while walking our dog (once per day, max. 1hr, within a 1km radius).
It’s starting to get to us and at this point, there’s no end in sight (in terms of internet woes). So expect that posts and social network interaction will be limited (if not altogether absent) for the foreseeable future as our mobile data is also limited.
Insert “eyeroll emoji” here! 😉
Let’s move to some of the #GoodThings…
- Garden: Like I said, we’re well into Spring so the ability to garden has been therapeutic for me. My favourite roses are in bloom, the first sweet pea plant is already going to seed, tomato seedlings are in the ground, potatoes are about a foot high and bumble bees are pollinating the broadbeens which are also in bloom.
- Chickens: I’d begun a chicken coop back in December to accommodate the chickens that we hatched out last September. Between weather and busyness, construction dragged on. Confinement (& no internet) gave me a chance to finish it. The chickens too are now confined.
These first two may seem pretty banal… but it’s therapeutic for me to do something and see results… to produce something. Particularly since perceived inability to see tangible results, in anything, is reinforced in at a time where we’re not able to work (physically or virtually).
- Creativity: We’ve seen a bit more of that in the kids. I’ve seen drawing, reading & writing in their spare time. All three of them have been learning Bible Quizzing verses (although only Dominic will – eventually – compete). More than that though, they’ve bonded even more than they already had been. That’s cool.
- Old School: It’s been interesting to see us all gathered ‘round the radio for major governmental announcements. Not a livestream via someone’s phone or iPad… an actual radio! Also, we’ve taken to reading the Chronicles of Narnia every other evening or so (as I mentioned in my last post). Even in terms of contact with church members… this past week, just to change things up, rather than phoning them, I mailed them all little handwritten notes… not email… mail… as in “postage stamps” and everything!
- Liz: While limited, Liz has continued to be able to do some of the editing work that she’s been involved with. It’s a lot slower and more laborious without internet, but she can still move forward. She was supposed to have been in Quebec this month to speak at the District Ladies’ Conference. Obviously she won’t be travelling there, which is a real disappointment to her.
- Services: We can’t livestream (or film & YouTube) our services, nor can we benefit from the livestreams (or ZOOM meetings) from others back home. Yet we gather in the living room for service week after week, dressed for church and in an attitude of worship and expectation. God is building something into the DNA of our kids (and us) that wouldn’t otherwise have been there. I don’t know what He’s preparing us for… but he’s doing a work.
For all the “Pain (in the neck)” I invoked above, I well realize that these are really first-world problems and that many are facing illness and death. Comparatively speaking, we’re blessed.
I also realize that at least we have resources over and above our own finite strength. That’s a #GoodThing! It’s that realization that allows us to go from “milk to soup” when we need to change gears or change perspective. We are better able to see the Pleasure, despite the Pain.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given.”
We’re definitely experiencing a very modern sort of pain; extreme & prolonged disconnection (& I’m not sure we’re quite to the “rejoicing” stage yet), but amidst the pain, the Lord is also giving us pleasure and his mercies are new every morning.
He is faithful!
God bless you and protect you during this Corona-Chaos.
Thank you for checking in.
We need & appreciate your prayers!