Today, we lost power. Again. All thanks to Sandy and the pathetic nor’easter that followed. That nor’easter would probably have done nothing alone. Barely 2 inches of snow. No noticeable wind. But lingering in Sandy’s shadow, that nor’easter only intensified Sandy’s devastating effects.
So today was the 3rd time in less than 2 weeks we lost power. First outage lasted a week. A long, slow week. Who knew a day could feel so long with 3 kids in the dark.
Second time was for part of a day – conveniently while I was in the middle of cooking dinner. I hung flash lights from the cabinets so I could see what I was doing.
Today, thankfully, was only a few hours.
The fear is that you never really know how long it’ll REALLY last. The first time it happened, it was easy to stay optimistic. “Probably just one more day,” I kept telling myself. But after a week of telling myself just that, any time we lost power, I could feel myself slowly evolving from being a glass half full person, to one who thinks of the glass half empty.
Initially, I was all kinds of positive. I made sure to remind myself how thankful and blessed (and spoiled) we are. So much we take for granted, and so very much to be thankful for. I needed to be humbled and reminded, and this was a much-needed, in your face, reminder. No escaping it. It insisted on being acknowledged.
But to be honest, after a week, when our lights went out again as I was cooking dinner – I felt myself on the verge of tears. I was just so frustrated and angry.
“AGAIN?! Really? How long would it last this time?” For a little while that’s all I could think about. Almost everyone else I knew had power. Every mall in our area (and we have many) was flaunting all the electricity it had, even after hours when no one was around to enjoy it. I was just so done.
And then those feelings were soon replaced by shame. Total. Utter. Complete. Shame. I felt weak and small and my frustration and anger quickly turned towards myself.
This – ALL of this (however big it seemed in my mind’s eye), is nothing.
A night in the dark – so what. We had candles and flashlights and all sorts of little gadgets to help us find our way.
A little cold – big deal. We had shelter – an actual intact home with walls and doors and a roof. We had extra blankets and clothes and a fireplace. We had clean water, and a stove, and the kids were healthy and coping.
Ugh. I hate that I’m so weak sometimes. That I forget the big picture. That my idea of “hardship” is quite different from probably what half the world’s population would consider hardship. That this experience was miniscule compared to the real victims of this hurricane that lost house and home. I’d like to think that I’m an empathetic person but the reality is, I just don’t know (and I hope I never experience some of the real hardships so many people struggle with on a daily basis), and it’s a sad day when it takes a little hardship like loss of power to rekindle my desire and the desire of others to work harder and more passionately towards the betterment of those who are less fortunate.
Maybe that was the “plan” – to “wake up” that sense of responsibility in each of us. To inconvenience and frustrate us just enough to add some fuel to that fire. To wake us up from the cloud of distraction that hovers so heavily over us most of the time.
So alhamdu lillah for the loss of electricity. May we lose our electricity every time we lose sight of the plight of others. We might be much better people if we did.