We were really hoping that after the year that 2020 was, 2021 would bring more normalcy; instead it has brought us one adventure after another.

After nearly two weeks of JustBob coddling and cajoling the boilers, the temperature in the house is now back to normal. Of course, Mother Nature deciding to end her 12 day stretch of constant below-zero temperatures also helped, as the boilers no longer have to work quite as hard. Nevertheless, we are grateful to be able to turn off the space heaters and take off the winter coats and gloves in the house.

Then what should have been a fairly simple modification to the behind-the-scenes mechanics of our website last Friday was derailed by the winter storms that devastated a large part of our nation, specifically Texas. So instead of a minor flicker in our website, it was down for a week. Thanks to Tracy’s patience and persistence working with the company that hosts our website, it is back up and running as of late Friday afternoon.

But instead of continuing to recount our inconveniences, perhaps it is more appropriate to look at the lessons they have to teach us. We can start by looking beyond our walls to recognize we were not the only ones impacted by Mother Nature. As our website outage reminded us, what affects any of our brothers and sisters affects all of us. Many thousands, maybe millions, of people around the world experienced the inconveniences and suffering inflicted by Mother Nature this year, yet most of the time the impact is not direct enough to penetrate our conscious awareness.

Whether it is a winter storm that ravages areas of our country ill-equipped to handle the consequences, or the multitude of floods, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes that impacted the people of Indonesia last month, whether it is the heavy rains and flooding in South America and the resulting public health emergencies, or the volcanic eruptions in Guatemala, we must feel the pain of our brothers and sisters when they are suffering.

So while we were inconvenienced by our uncooperative boilers, a frigid stretch of winter weather, and no website, we had the means to deal with the inconveniences. We are among the lucky ones, the blessed ones. Our inconveniences were minor. So many of our brothers and sisters experienced much more than minor inconveniences, and did not have the necessary means to deal with them, either because of their poverty or because no measure of wealth can control Mother Nature when she decides to take some winter weather on an unwelcome detour.

For all of life’s inconveniences, both major and minor, and the ways they remind us of our solidarity with all our brothers and sisters, we say Deo Gratias!