Recently, my wife and I were babysitting our two local grandchildren. Their family lives near a very active train yard and we’re pretty used to all of its noises. The screeching of rail car wheels against the tracks and the loud slamming and banging of train cars being coupled. And, all of the whistles.
But, what we heard last Wednesday went far beyond any of these sounds. It was as if every train car in the yard had suddenly been picked up and smashed into one another in some kind of massive train wreck.
It turns out, it wasn’t trains we heard, it was the wind. It howled and shook the house. It destroyed trees, pulling some enormous giants out by their roots and simply tossing them aside.
The devastation was mind blowing and widespread.
And, of course, the power went out. Went out and stayed out.
Once my wife and I were home it was time to go into action. Time to find all of the flashlights and candles and get out extra blankets for us, plus one for my 96-year-old mom, who stayed with us. Of course, there was one more important thing to remember, don’t open the refrigerator door!
You probably have your own tales to tell about power outages, so you know how the story goes. No heat, no food, no light, no TV or computer. And for us, no cell phone, since we don’t have a car charger.
No communication with the outside world.
The part of me that wasn’t feeling sorry for myself understood this is the way vast portions of the world’s population feel every single day of their lives.
I don’t mean being without electricity, although there are many who exist this way. I mean feeling powerless to have the kind of life they want, for themselves and for their families. Powerless, with no real prospect for that to change. Powerless, and probably, hopeless.
I thought of all the people whose whole world falls apart due to some calamity. Some outside or inside force that shatters their lives.
I thought of those who deal with disease or oppression or racial injustice or malnutrition. The list goes on and on.
I thought, what is my powerlessness compared to theirs?
You might be wondering, what is the message of inspiration here?
Well, part of the answer is found in knowing how our electricity was restored. PEOPLE. Humans reconnecting wires and reestablishing a path for the power to travel.
People working together we are capable of incredible things. We’ve been able to reach out and touch the moon and beyond. We’ve discovered new medicines, saved rain forests, created new ways to harness energy. This list goes on and on too.
People working together we can do amazing things. Perhaps we can even offer hope to the powerless. No doubt, there are a million ways to do this.
Choosing just one can make a difference.
We all can make a difference.
We don’t have to cure everything in the world. But, imagine if one million people did one thing to help restore power.
That too would be mind blowing.
4 Replies to “Power”
I was without power for two days. For those two days, two things were foremost in my mind. First, that it was really a minor inconvenience compared to what people in Puerto Rico and in the south live without when a hurricane passes through. My biggest concern was the perishables in my refrigerator – perhaps $20 or $30 in groceries. Second, I realized how different my life is now compared to what it was in the 80’s. No Internet back then. I had managed to keep myself occupied then without it, but found myself going through withdrawal without it.
I know what you mean about losing perspective. I realize my inconvenience is so shallow compared to others and feel fortunate that this event brought that to my attention. I’m also glad for the opportunity to decide what to do to help others.
Sorry to hear of your power outage and consequences.
And certainly brings to mind how many of our US neighbors in the deluge of rain and flooding in the Louisiana gulf region and tragic devastation of entire communities in California wildfires. Many people now without not just power but homes.
And the loss of power in so many ways, like the political scene for instance. This immense power struggle , causing so much divisiveness .
United we stand divided we fall.
Another whole story.
So where does our true power lie. Our teaching is , our power lies within. I surrender to the innate wisdom( ie power) that resides within. One of my mantras.
And I agree with you Rob, that we each can find some way to use our power and contribute to helping each other in whatever way we can.
As Mother Teresa once said , paraphrasing, it’s not in doing one great thing but in doing many small things in a great way.
We can all contribute in our own unique way. This is one way we can own our power.
Thanks for listening.
It must be so hard to look at your property and see a pile of rubble or some smouldering remains. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to know that all of your stuff is gone and that you have to start over again. Perhaps there are huge positives buried somewhere in the experience, but they must be pretty challenging to find. Like you say though, knowing your true power lies within is so important.