The other evening our power went out. Apparently a transformer in our neighborhood blew. Its a very common occurrence. I live in an older neighborhood where the power lines are still above ground. At least once every couple of months something bizarre happens that brings down the power – high winds, car accident, storm, heavy ice, or even too many people using their air conditioner.
It never fails, that every time the power goes out in my house three things happen:
1. My son freaks out
2. I start cleaning
3. We chat with our neighbors
First let’s talk about my darling boy. My son does not like the dark. Several years ago when Ohio got hit with the freaky hurricane winds we lost power for 3 days. He did not like the pitch blackness at night or the inability to watch TV or get on the computer. So now every time the power goes out, he starts to worry and panic. Sometimes I get annoyed with him. After all we all know the power will be back in a couple of hours. But when I sit back and think about his reaction, I realize how often I freak out about things. Work gets a little hectic, somebody gets on my nerves, something “bad” happens…life has shown me repeatedly that everything turns out as it should and in the end its all “alright” yet that does not stop me from freaking out.
The second thing is a little more bizarre especially since I hate to clean (I am, afterall domestically challenged). But if the power goes out while there’s still sunlight the first thing I do is clean the living room. My mindset is that the worst case scenario is we would camp out in the living room for the night (especially in the summer when it gets really hot upstairs without the air). Once the living room is nice and neat I move into the kitchen. I’ll empty the dishwasher (cause it’s always full), reload it (cause there are always dishes in the sink) then wash the pots and pans (cause there are always pots and pans that need washing). I often think about the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1 – 13). The moral of that story was “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.(Matthew 25:13).
Finally the neighbor thing has to be the oddest of them all. I live on one of those streets where everyone keeps to themselves. A friendly hello is about the extent of our “neighborly” exchanges. When the power goes out on our street many people come out of their houses. Of course they only come out to see if anyone else’s power is out, but while we’re out there we talk to each other. This has made me realize how difficult it is for us to unplug. The technology that was suppose to connect us to the world has isolated us from the people physically closest to us.
I often find myself praying for direction, guidance, wisdom. Reflecting on life with electricity – even for a couple of hours – is a nice reminder for me that there are lessons and messages all around us and in everything we do. We just have to be willing to slow down, look at what’s going on, and listen to what God is trying to tell us.