Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Losing Power, Gaining Perspective

Have you ever noticed how much we take electricity for granted? We flip hundreds of switches a day without ever giving a second thought the electricity won't be there. We're so used to power on demand that if it ever does go out we're caught off-guard.

Awhile ago the area where I live was a victim of an EF3 tornado. Fortunately, my house only experienced a few missing shingles, a tree pushed over, and some fence blown down. I was very blessed when compared to others who lost their homes and possessions.

However, we all were without electricity -- and not just for minutes or hours, but for days. It was then I understood just how much I take instant power for granted. I had to scramble to figure out how to charge the phone (a car charger works fine); get up in the morning (a wind-up alarm clock does the trick); and wash the dishes (dish detergent in a sink full of water still does the job). Each day I'd walk into a room (sometimes several different times), flip a switch, and expect a burst of light -- only to be reminded there was no juice. Here's where flashlights come in handy, by the way. My problems were compounded on Sunday afternoon when, sitting down to watch golf, I hit the power on the remote and, you guessed it, no TV.

Following the lead of my ancestors, I grabbed a book to read.

This got me to thinking, and I started contemplating all the other things in my amenities-rich life I took for granted: fresh water, frozen food, sizzling bacon, country music, news broadcasts, microwave meals, and the list kept growing.

Soon I shifted from things to people. Topping this list are my wife and kids. More often than I care to admit I take these choicest of gifts for granted. I didn't have to think very long on how glad I was they were in my life, but yet how infrequently I let them know this. It was then I resolved to move them from the taken-for-granted list to the lucky-I've-got-them list.

Being without electricity is one thing, an inconvenience to be sure. Being without the people who matter most to me, well, that's a problem the local utility company just can't fix.

And then, staring at the lifeless TV, I thought how Father's Day is coming up. I think this year I'll let my wife and kids know how very thankful I am to be her husband and their dad.

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