Thursday, November 12, 2009
The Preacher’s Corner
Power going off sends Gracie into a flutter
Saturday morning about 6 a.m. the power went off at my house. I was just beginning to wake up, and for some reason, the slight, almost imperceptible sounds of the electricity shutting down made me quickly awake. There was no particular reason — the little motor in the refrigerator out in the kitchen, perhaps the cessation of the whoosh from the central heat. The house was chilly, so I just lay in bed for awhile.
What fascinated me was this small event sent the dog into a flutter. She had been sleeping peacefully, but immediately noticed that something was different.
This occasioned the need to “investigate,” so she went running from room to room, checking all the doors and windows, nose to the ground, as if some intruder had upset the inertia that had allowed her to sleep so peacefully. It was several minutes before she settled down again.
It was about an hour and a half before the city crews got the lights on again (I suppose they also were rooted out of their warm beds on a lazy Saturday morning). But all this set me to thinking about how much we take things for granted.
I decided to get up and take a shower while the water in my electrically-operated hot water tank was still warm. I deferred breakfast, because mine always consists of toast, and that takes electricity, and as I do not have a gas stove in which to brown my bread, toast would have to be deferred. (My, but we do get “set” in our ways!)
Even a brief power outage reminds me of the great ice storm of 1994.
We here were without for just a few days, but down in the Delta it took weeks to get the wires restrung and all the circuits attached. People found out then what was a true necessity and what was not. Fortunately for me, the phone still worked. I would not have survived if I could not have yakked about it with friends and relatives far away.
All of us are used to support systems of various kinds — our families, neighbors, relatives. Our church, our bank accounts, the familiarity of daily routine. We complain about the government, but are glad to cash our checks. It is only when some aspect of our routine is interrupted that we are shocked out of the assumption that life will always take care of us.
I smile when I think about an incident in my childhood. An ice storm was heading our way, and my friend Richard’s mother intended to be ready for it.
Mrs. Hurt had scurried around putting electric blankets on all the beds. It was not until she was almost finished that my friend Richard (at that point a smart-alecky pre-teen), pointed out to his mom that if the power went off those electric blankets could not be turned on.
Even now, when the power goes off, I find myself reaching for the switch to the overhead light, so that I can see while I go to the closet where I keep the flashlight.
Presbyterians sing an old Scottish hymn to one of those plodding, bagpipe-sounding tunes for which we are so famous, and I began to hum it while I waited for the lights to come on. The verse begins: “My soul with expectation doth, depend on God indeed. My strength and my salvation do from Him alone proceed.”
We need to be reminded of that, lest we think that “life” will sustain us forever. I sure was glad, however, when the wires began to tingle about 7:30, and all the little things that buzz came back to life in my house. I made some toast and checked the e-mail.
But the Lord had reminded me in the meantime to be thankful.
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