43 Hours

That’s right, 43 hours. 

Not a typo. 

While I realize crime dramas have conditioned us to accept the importance of the first 48 and that 48 hours is two days, what I’m about to share happened suddenly and quicker than that.

So what happened in those 43 hours? 

More like what didn’t happen.

Lessons learned I’m now ready to testify as to how this mystery unraveled and what its implications are for us along our shared path we call, “Becoming Today”.

I thought it began Friday night. Right around 11 p m. Not a creature was stirring. I was all nestled in and had just fallen asleep, when suddenly arose such a …. SCREECEECHH!

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the living room I stumbled, when then again it called out…. SCREECEECHH! 

What is that? Where are the light switches? I use them everyday. Why can’t I find them now?!?

…. SCREECEECHH! 

What is that? Where exactly is it coming from? Why does it sound once and….

…. SCREECEECHH! ….

…Then it happens again in a recurring pattern?

Yes about every 60 seconds, this annoying high pitched electronic …. SCREECEECHH! …. Startling yet keeping me from being fully engaged with finding its source.

Where can it be?…..SCREECEECHH! …. 

This is maddening. Wait was …..SCREECEECHH! …. that?

A flash. A tiny blink or a light. I saw it out of the corner of my eye coming from …..SCREECEECHH!

Yes actually it was. A small flash then the excessive decibels of the electronic warning would sound again. 

I guess I finally was awake enough to realize it was the smoke detector.

Now it was not constant. There was no smoke, flames or heat and the dog was annoyed by the sound but not on alert. So what was going on?

I need to check the device. It’s on the ceiling 9 feet in the air.

Where are my shoes? I need to go into the garage and get a ladder, drag it in, make it stand securely in this narrow hallway and begin my ascent.

And yes the …..SCREECEECHH! … is even louder when it’s closer to my ear.

What is going on? These smoke detectors are both wired to the electricity in the house and have a battery backup. So I know the power is on, why then. Ohhh. Even though the battery is there in case of an electrical outage, the device still sounds  …..SCREECEECHH! …once  every minute until you address the issue.

So still being new to this house, it took a few moments for me to learn how to loosen the cover, where’s the battery door, get it open and pop out the battery. Good that’s done …..SCREECEECHH! … 

You’re still wired to the house, the power is on, why are you tormenting me and I’ll admit a few others words I shouldn’t have said are being muttered at this what in the moment seems like an  instrument of torture designed to warn me in an emergency.

 …..SCREECEECHH! …

I know! I’m working on it. So it’ll need a new battery. Where are they? Nine volt batteries, nothing else uses them anymore, I hope I have one …..SCREECEECHH! …

I’ve had it and up the ladder I go again, hmm how do I disconnect this. Okay it’s one clip here and …SCREeee…. Got it before it could finish it’s screech this time!

As I descend I’m looking at this device and discovering a few other unwelcome surprises too.

After about ten minutes of searching the house. Junk drawer. Workbench. Desk. Craft table, closet number one, laundry room, closet number two, I wouldn’t have put them in the linen closet would I?

Let me move this ladder and open the door. Yes there was my stash of batteries and among them 2- 9 volts. 

After searching the whole house, what I needed was right there as the old saying goes, “as the crow flies” the batteries on the upper closet shelf were about four feet from where the detector resides.

Now 30 minutes into my battle of patience. I replace the battery, reconnect the wires, twist the detector back into place. Come down the ladder as I start to fold it up, can you guess?

…..SCREECEECHH! …

WHAT!!!!!!!!

How can that be? 

Now I need to mention something else. In my hurry to stop the screeching when I popped the battery out, I didn’t look to see how it was in there. 

With this model, it inserts on an angle, you can’t see the terminals and even though I closely examined the device, it is not marked as to which side the positive post should be on. 

I even logged on and searched for a video as to how to determine which direction it should go and the answer was; consult your owner’s manual. 

Now has it been me who purchased the unit I probably would have that, however it wasn’t and who knows whatever became of it.

So try again. I had to completely remove the unit. Unplug it and bring it down the ladder. I didn’t trust my balance on the ladder to do the process up there and did not want to fall, crawl, where is my phone?

And have the following imagined phone conversation,

Hello fire fire department? I  need an ambulance. 

Why?

I was changing the battery in my smoke detector and fell off the ladder. 

At midnight? Have you been drinking ma’am?

Okay obviously the engineers who designed this detector did it backwards, because I know I put the battery in there correctly, but let me turn it around. 

Back up the ladder, plug in  the unit, secure it back in place. Down the ladder. I’m not moving it yet, Fingers crossed, go sit down, wait, still waiting, okay, yes? Maybe? Should be.

It was after five minutes no screeches, chirps or flashes. It’s safe to go back to bed. So I put the ladder away, turn out the lights and under the covers I go.

Took me a bit to unwind. I guess about 30 minutes and as I feel myself drifting off, FLASH!.

What was that?

No, not the smoke detector.

This time it’s a bright white light. 

What is that?!?

Okay it went away… FLASH! … Again????

A flash of white light on for a few seconds shining directly into my eyes as I lay in bed. Again the dog is annoyed but not alerting. 

What could possibly be going on?

It’s coming from the …  FLASH! … bathroom.

Silent and annoying. At least it’s not that screeching.  

Covers off, up again, to investigate as I make my way towards the door, you guessed it  … FLASH! … 

This time I know what it is. It’s the only thing it could be. But why? Why would it do that?

In that bathroom I have a battery operated motion detector night light. It senses movement within six feet and I have it at a height above the dog’s level and she was curled up on her pillow anyway.

It only turns on when something steps in front of the sensor. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the dog. No one else is here, at least not anyone I can see…

The flashing continued the closer I got. The only thing I could figure was the batteries. I guess when they need to be changed it starts a random flashing to alert you. Hello. Over here I need some attention.

It’s now fast approaching 2 a m., and I decide I’m taking the batteries out, I’ll deal with it later.

Then the “what if’s?” Creep in. 

What if it’s not the batteries? 

What movement could it be sensing? 

Would the sensor just go wacky for no reason at all?

My  mind is racing. The dog’s gone to sleep letting me deal with this imagined interloper all by myself. 

Too restless to get back in bed, it’s now becoming an early morning binge watch festival of parts of movies I’ve seen a hundred times, slowed by commercials every ten minutes or less.

As I sit and stare, I keep thinking about batteries? Battery? Batteries? 

Why are all these batteries all of a sudden failing? 

Sometime around 4 a m I guess I finally drifted off, then sprang to my feet before 6 a m awaking with the insight and revelation that my battery issues did not start at 11 p m, and there were previous warning signs.

In fact I thought I would have my struggles with one particular battery solved some eight hours before the night of ‘Screech and Flash’.

Yes it took longer than anticipated when I thought I had it all figured out.

As I shared in our discussion of “Reignite”,  as I battled

I was ready for launch. To return to full participation I mentioned that I found myself in the “Depths of Dormancy” and “Rolling Away The Stone” I noted, “isn’t it ironic that you are asked to be the strongest when you feel the weakest?”.

That was what I was going through, trying to battle physical issues to keep up with day to day tasks. As I struggled with my inability to perform I had no choice but to reflect on why I may be going through this. I still really don’t have all the answers and probably never will but certainly I knew what it would take to overcome.

Time. And trust. I needed to slow down on some of the busy work and use this time to reflect upon deeper issues.

So I did. While it did take a few days for me to steady myself, regain my strength and clear my vision, I’m now ready to Reignite!

“All that remains is to turn the key to launch this reignition cycle. Which is still in process.

However I have experienced a slight delay though. After my struggles of the past weeks, I haven’t used my car. 

So preparing to venture away from the tomb, I did as I was instructed to “take off the grave clothes” and prepared to drive back into the light.

So I’m seated in my car, buckled up for safety, I check the mirrors,seeing no instructions I then  insert the key in the ignition, and when I turn it….. Nothing. Not even a click. It seems I’m still having ignition issues. 

So as we speak my battery is recharging and what happens next ….”

… is actually part of this story now 12-days later. 

Twelve days later? I thought you said 43 hours?

I’m getting to that.

It took me 43 hours to complete the cycle of realizing what was going on. Connecting the dots and so forth. When I do that’s how you’ll see the lesson that applies to all of us at some times in our lives.

Now it did not take my car battery 12-days to charge. In fact it never would. 

After two days of a “reconditioning attempt” and trying to renew this source of power I realized it needed to be replaced. Okay let’s start looking for one online and see who will deliver.

The short answer is no one. None of the major chains would send their parts trucks that run around in circles all day to a residential address. 

Okay so let’s have it shipped. What? No, no, no, oh here’s one and they are one of the biggest parts stores in the nation. The only ones claiming they will ship it. Okay expect it in five days. That’s fine because it won’t get here any sooner as we have a major ice storm bearing down on us and local authorities are urging people to remain in their homes for the next three days.

Three days, that’s easy. I’ve just done more than three weeks, so what’s another three days?

So the “expected delivery date” arrives and the website still shows STILL NOT SHIPPED”. Like that all red letters, all caps, no explanation why.

I tried their “chat with us”. Some chat. They can sell me more things but have no access to records or orders. Try the email.

I do. Autoresponder tells me I’m important, they value my business, they respond to all emails in 48 hours or less. All proved to be untrue.

Three days past delivery and I’m spending far too long on hold with what turns out to be a third-party provider, because they apparently value my business so much they won’t even speak to me. 

They can offer no explanations, but can cancel my order. YES. 

Now I’m back to a search and find a battery like I need in stock at the auto parts store that is actually closest to me, but no delivery, no shipping. Anyway, I ordered it and it’s now 6:30 p m on Thursday and I’ll figure out tomorrow how to get there from here.

Friday arrives, I’m chipper, I’m relieved. I’ll just call the locally owned small business, a cab company that is dispatched from a location between my house and the store. Call them, he says I can’t get you for about an hour. He’ll call when he is on the way. 

I thanked him, said that was okay and went about my day waiting….. Waiting for three hours with no call. I try to call and the call gets rejected, no answer no voicemail. Try again, same thing.

Now what do I do?

Back online, find a rideshare, go through the hassle of downloading an app, set up an account, it won’t allow me to type in my home address only the street name, I add driver’s notes  and am shocked when they apologize for the wait. The driver would be there in 12-15 minutes. Not hours or days, minutes,.

 Yeah! He got here in eight.

Off we go battery retrieved and I’m home in less than a half hour and install the new battery.

Climb in the car, turn the key…. YES!!! We have ignition.

I felt so good the rest of the day I had overcome these multiple challenges with patience, faith, trust and doing so no matter how angry I was tempted to get with grace and dignity.

My battery issues I thought were resolved at 3 p m that Friday afternoon. Little did I know what the night would bring and still yet that was not the end to my power draining saga. 

After spending Saturday recouping from my sleepless Friday night of Screech and Flash, I was ready for a renewing Sunday of worship and then I got the message, again.

 …..SCREECEECHH! …

What? What now. It happened as the pastor was giving his closing blessing. 

Following “My Relocation” and with the pandemic issues, I haven’t found a local church, so my services are still online. Though I prepare and dress as if I were in the front row because after all there is no one between me and the pastor, unless the dog walks in.

Anyway it was the other smoke detector. This time I immediately knew what to do. 

So I sprang into action, heels and all on the ladder and quickly, decisively, “Dedicated to Diligence”, I applied what I had learned over the weekend.

Less annoyed and safer for my actions  it suddenly came upon me what the real lesson was. 

I had battery issues.

As I shared last month I was weak, in need of renewal, feeling I did not have the energy to do what I must, what I felt needed to be done.

Now I was being shown not only that I could be re-energized, but there had been warning signs along the way. 

Yes I need to renew and replace my batteries literally and figuratively and I now suddenly realized why the power failures surrounded me.

I was presented with challenges to strengthen me. Test my resolve, reaffirm my commitment to always being “Becoming”.

The car battery taught me lessons of vulnerability and trust as I literally lost my ability to travel. To go forward. Rather than trying to force a reconditioning I needed to open up to the new and unknown. Look for answers in alternate places and trust that I could be delivered to the resource I needed. 

Rather than struggling, trying to force resolutions or find work arounds I needed to allow myself to step out into the light in new directions knowing the answers would reveal themselves. 

The first smoke detector was a reminder to be vigilant. To be prepared and safety first. Those strengths come from the same Source. It was an indicator that things can change in an instant. With just one  …..SCREECEECHH! … suddenly my night and the next several days were completely changed from what I was anticipating.

It truly was a call to wake up and pay attention.

The flashing night light was a signal that I needed to be activating my motions. To move about and share more light through me. To let my light shine to all those I would again encounter as I had not left the house due to illness, storms, and batteries for 43 days .

Yes there is that number again. Little did I know that as I ventured out to retrieve that new battery, that in the next 43 hours, the Lord would show me why I had the test of the 43 days prior.

At that 43rd hour, when the second smoke detector alerted, it was a reminder that He is present and doing all He can for me, as long as I do my part in this co-creation.  Things suddenly in His time came together and made perfect sense.

To summarize here the takeaway is to trust and believe. Heeds the signs yes, and do our part to prepare and be ready to do what we must. 

The battery I removed from the smoke detector had expired in March 2021. A year ago. It served me and the prior residents of this house beyond it’s projected life span. It gave us it’s all and more. So all I needed to do was help it refresh and renew. Remove the old and in its place welcome the new.

That is very “Becoming”. 

As I do, after I came to this personal revelation I grabbed my journal and wrote an intercession of gratitude for the challenges overcome, obstacles surmounted and the promises delivered.

I’d like to share that prayer with you:

“Thank you Lord.

Messages received. Understood and accepted. These lessons are now being implemented.

I thank You for your goodness and mercy as well as your gentle corrections, guidance and instruction.

I am renewed. Fresh batteries powering me forward and upward in Jesus’ name, Amen!”

I am renewed, refreshed and rejuvenated. My energy is restored and I am sharing and putting the lessons learned into action. 

Today’s conversation is only part of those actions. Tomorrow I’ll share more about being prepared and how the little things really do matter as I uncovered some hidden things as I went to replace my batteries.

That’s where we’ll pick up on our next edition of “Becoming Today”. 

2 thoughts on “43 Hours

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