A Minnesota Parable

More than two weeks after the snow and ice storm hit the Worthington area, things are almost back to normal and stories are starting to be passed around.

Already the storm has become come a “do you remember” event.

Years from now, when we’re all a little bit older and a little bit grayer, we’ll say over our cups of coffee, “Do you remember the April storm of 2013?”

And of course, everyone will remember. We’ll start telling stories about watching movies in cars when the rolling blackouts turned the houses dark, working on battery powered laptops near windows, struggling to keep food cold, standing in a store aisle when everything suddenly went dark and the impossible hunt for chainsaws, flashlights and oil lamps.

I will tell the story of finding myself as the anti-hero of a real life parable.

This fall when my Grandma moved out of her house in Fulda, my extended family came together to help clean out the house and condense years of possessions.

We went slowly through the process of dividing, discarding and donating everything. At the end of the day, I took home with a box of family heirlooms and odds and ends – quilts my great-grandmother made, a non-electric hand mixer, blue Bell jars, a purple feathered hat and an oil lamp that used to sit on the mantle.

I had used the oil lamp a few times before as a novelty but never as the only possible source of light — until the 17th when I came home from work to a very cold and very dark apartment.

I lit the lamp and snuggled up on the couch to read, smug in my electrical independence.

In fact, the lack of incandescent light hardly bothered me — until the flame began to fade. I turned the wick up a little higher, but it didn’t help for long.

That is when I noticed that the wick was no longer touching the oil and was burning at an alarming rate.

I quickly blew it out and sat in the dark, wondering where I could find more oil for my lamp. It was late and I was sure that none of my friends or neighbors would have any to spare. I thought about braving the storm to see if any store in town had more, but decided that at 9 p.m., it would be futile.

There I was — a young maiden who forgot to bring extra oil for her lamp.

I couldn’t believe it. After all those Sunday School lessons, I never thought I would end up as one of the foolish ones, I always assumed I would be wise enough to bring extra oil.

And yet, there I sat in the dark. I’m pretty sure if I would have looked out my window, I would have seen the bridegroom walk by on his way to the wedding feast.

I learned my lesson though. I may not know the day nor the hour when the power goes out again, but I have a two liter jug of oil in my closet ready for the next storm or a wedding feast — which ever comes first.


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  • Ok, loved this! I love when a writer is able to connect a Bible story with real life. And what a perfect illustration for that parable! :-)