“Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” — Genesis 1:3
November 2, 2011— As I write this, with a pen and paper, Ted and I are well into Day
Four of no electricity following the “freak” October 29th snow storm. Our corner of Connecticut received 18 inches of heavy, wet snow from the storm, now wittily termed “Snowtober” by broadcasters. Mother Nature played a Halloween trick we’ll not soon forget.
We are managing better than most. We have a wood stove keeping us warm. We have a camp stove for cooking. And we have a small generator which Ted runs for short spurts twice a day. The generator enables us to run the well pump and maintain refrigeration.
Living in a rural area, power outages are nothing new, however, one going on for several days is unusual. As is the case when other unexpected events occur, I am forced to stop and think deeply. I think about all that I take for granted – the ease of getting a hot shower, the convenience of drying my hair, the simplicity of washing clothes and dishes, and the sheer joy of brewing a cup of fresh, delicious, heavenly coffee.
I think about the pre-Edison days when the average person’s routine ended with the setting sun, as ours has these last few days. I think about all the modern technology required to foster my passions — the oven, the computer, the internet, the phone, and, the most missed, my sewing machine. I think about what coping skills I would need to tap into should I ever lose those things for good.
In recent years I have worked at the practice of just “being.” Reading advice from Conrad Baars, C. S. Lewis and Mother Teresa (to name just a few) has helped me to see I was in a chronic cycle of constantly doing. I was in a trap (one which I still struggle to stay clear of) to define myself by the things I had accomplished rather than by who I was as a person. Socrates said, “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” That quote makes you think, doesn’t it? When I find myself in a perpetual frenzy of “to do” lists and unrealistic schedules, I do all I can to break free even if it’s only for a short while. I go into what I call Popeye mode — “I am what I am” and God loves what I am!
There’s nothing quite like a power outage to help center you into “just being.” On day one,
I thought a lot about what I could not do. On day four, I am thinking about what I can do. I can write and relish in the gifts of ballpoint pens and sturdy paper (as opposed to a chisel and slate or a quill and parchment). I can crochet by the glorious sunlight. I can read a spine-tingling mystery novel to my heart’s content. I can graciously lose (multiple times!!) at playing Scrabble with my husband. Best of all, I can sit with God while just being me.
NOTE: The power returned about six hours after I wrote the above post. Thank you to my wonderful husband, Ted. Because he is always ready for emergencies, we were safe, warm and cozy through the ordeal. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to brew some coffee!