Sunday, August 03, 2008

Power Failure

The lights went out yesterday, and I sat on my porch watching the trees lean and swirl in the wind. Their leaves were sails that caught the gales and bent to their demands. Like a rude guest, the storm came without warning and overstayed its welcome, hovering for nearly an hour in what seemed like the same place. Split seconds separated cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning. The skies flickered like my light bulbs had done before they fizzled out. From my porch it seemed that thousands of neighbors had climbed up on the roof and started dumping out buckets of water right in front of me.

The prolonged intensity of the downpour was majestic and a bit frightening. I sat outside for awhile, but the lightning started getting too close for comfort. As a 60-foot pine tree swayed back and forth in an impossible circle, I started having visions of it landing in my window. I decided I'd be better off watching from inside.

The combination of the power failure and the natural wonder that caused it set me to thinking about how self-reliant people often are, and a reminder of our insignificance is often refreshing. Without the hum of electricity, it's amazing how much more in the natural world there is to hear. When the lights are out, it's easy to see how much we take convenience for granted.

When Katy was on her way home from work, she was excited to hear that the power had failed. She wanted to light candles and pretend we'd gone back to the dark ages. Call us weird, but we like it when the power goes out for a little while. It shakes the routine and reminds us that there's more to living our life than using all the modern amenities electricity affords us.

For the same reason, I liked watching the storm. Although I feared it, I relished the fact that it was huge and overwhelming and that I could do nothing to control it. In a small way, that storm was like God: dangerous but awe-inspiring, fierce but necessary for the life of everything that grows in this area.

There's also a life metaphor there: When our power fails, we realize how little we had in the first place and we take comfort in the fact that the world doesn't spin on our momentum, but on His will.

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