Early this morning I was awakened by a weather alert going off on my phone and informing me there was a winter weather advisory out until tomorrow. I turned if off, looked out at the gray sky and bare trees, shivered and decided that since I'd been on the run for the past four days I would reward myself by snuggling up with a book and putting off what I should be doing this morning until later.
Normally this time of year finds me in a frenzy. I figured up that over the past 35 years of my marriage, I have been responsible for preparing 32 Thanksgiving dinners. Out of the three that I wasn't, one of them was due to having been recently released from the hospital due to severe morning sickness (someone invited us over and I spent 99% of the time lying on the bed in the guest room) and the other two times I rebelled and we went out to eat.
Out of the 32 times, the vast majority of the time, I was the "head chef". There were a couple of times when my mother was the hostess but that still meant that I lived in the kitchen until dinner time. We like to pick up "strays" on Thanksgiving, people who would be alone (and don't want to be), so generally we have at least 10 people (and often far more).
This year, we have been invited to my son's in-laws for Thanksgiving (and they are coming to our house for Christmas Eve) so I simply have to prepare my "Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes" on Wednesday and arrive shortly before dinner.Truthfully, as much as I really enjoy hosting Thanksgiving, I am looking forward to having a break and concentrating solely on Christmas Eve.
I settled down under the blankets to enjoy my book. I got up briefly a couple of times and thought it must seem a tad bit cold because I had been under the blankets or the furnace must be about to kick on but didn't give it a second thought. Then... I decided to get up and seize the day (finally).
As I stood in my bedroom, an alarm suddenly went off in my brain. Something was wrong! I sprang to life and ran downstairs only to be greeted by the blank face of the thermostat. GASP! It was starting to snow and I had no heat! This is a very serious matter when you live in Minnesota in the winter time.
Now granted, I do have a gas fireplace downstairs and several space heaters as well but at the moment, all I could think about was that my furnace was not working. As I called my husband in panic mode, (not withstanding that he was 25 miles away and could do nothing about it), I noticed something flashing on the panel. It was a low battery light.
Whew! Maybe the furnace wasn't broken after all. Maybe I just needed to replace the batteries. Sigh... AAA batteries. In all probability I did not have AAA batteries lying around the house, though I should for emergencies such as this.
By this time, my husband had answered his phone and assured me that probably was the problem. Once I heard his voice I recalled that I did have a fireplace as well as heaters so I wasn't going to freeze to death. As we talked, I went down to the basement and picked up the remote to the fireplace. It said it was 57F/13C. Brrrr... . no wonder I was a bit... cool. I pushed the button to turn on the fireplace and nothing happened.
AKKKK!!! I began to go into panic mode once again until my husband suggested that perhaps it was a problem with the remote and I needed to turn the fireplace on manually. Oh yeah. The fireplace does have a manual switch as well. Apparently, the batteries on the remote are dead as well. Did I mention these batteries are also size AAA? Well, at least I got the fireplace going.
Before heading off to the store to get some new batteries, I remembered that our remote to the television uses AAA batteries. Perhaps I could slip them into the thermostat and check it out just to make sure my 26 year old furnace was still working and I did not need to schedule a service call. I slipped the "new" batteries into place and to my delight and relief, the panel lit up. I reset the thermostat a few degrees higher than normal and headed down to the basement. As I opened the door to the utility I heard the furnace stir. Then whosh! I gave a sigh of relief as dancing flames came into view through the cracks in the vent.
Mechanically, there was nothing wrong with the furnace itself. It was in perfect working condition. The problem was a communication problem.Because the batteries were dead, the thermostat was no longer sensitive to the change in temperature and it was no longer communicating that information to the furnace which would then turn on or off accordingly.Once the batteries were replaced, communication was restored, the message was sent and the furnace responded accordingly.
Spiritually, are our batteries dead? It is critical for us to keep them "re-charged" by remaining connected to God by communicating with Him through prayer and through the study and meditation of His Word. The good news is that when our spiritual batteries run low or even become dead, God can restore them to full-capacity. All we have to do is ask.