Friday, August 22, 2008

The Electricity Went Out Last Night

We have been experiencing just a taste of the outer bands of the notorious Fay. I am not complaining, because I know that my family and friends in Florida are experiencing the full brunt of the storm as it has sat and stalled and dumped gallons and gallons of water over them. My parents are without phone and there is water, water all around, so, I am not complaining. Half my driveway is under water at the moment, but I know that much of Florida is under water at the moment, so I know that my driveway being wet is not a problem.

But, due to the air pressure this system brings with it, I have had a splitting headache for five days now. Yesterday and today are much better than earlier in the week, but, ouch. It is so hard to be patient and loving and kind and ready to teach my children when I have a blinding headache and Drew is in San Diego for the week. Only by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit can I hope to do right. I confess I have walked in the flesh more often than I wish I had to admit this week.

Anyway, last night the wind and rain were so loud that I woke up around 1:45 AM and was going to go back to sleep when I realized that I had forgotten to take the trash can back up to the house after the garbage truck came yesterday, and I had visions of our big green garbage can blowing down the street in the storm. I ran out into the deluge and dragged it up to the garage, came back into the house drenched, dripping and shivering (the A/C was working nicely) and decided I was too cold to just go back to bed, so I took a hot bath. At 2 AM. I know, I'm crazy. I was so awake at that point that I didn’t think I’d be able to go back to sleep for a while anyway. Then I put on warm, dry clothes and went back to bed. Then I decided I had to go to the bathroom.

While in there, the power flickered and then went out. It was pitch dark in my house. I couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face. I hurried back to bed and tried to go to sleep, but I was fighting a little bit of unreasonable panic. I hate being in the pitch dark. We usually have some kind of night light on in the kitchen or living room, especially when Drew is not home in case one of the kids gets up in the night, so it is never completely dark in our house. But it was last night. Then I started thinking that it would be really scary for the kids if they woke up with the wind and rain so loud and no lights, so maybe I should have the flashlight. I like to keep the flashlight in my room, but someone in my house who I won’t name here usually comes along behind me and puts it away, way up high where I can’t reach it over the pantry in the laundry room. I tried to just go to sleep, but it bothered me so much that I didn’t have the flashlight that I finally got up and carefully felt my way through the living room to the kitchen and over to where I keep the stool then back through the kitchen to the pantry, set up the stool and reached up over my head and carefully felt along the top of the cabinet until I found the one flashlight that works, hoping I would not accidently knock that heavy thing down and knock myself out with it in the process. All done blindly in the dark. We are not exactly the poster children for hurricane preparedness in this story are we?

It was amazing how comforting it was to have the little bit of light to walk back to my room by. The flashlight will live in my room from now on, by the way. Especially if I have to be home by myself so often.

So, I got to thinking about the dark and light, and how in the dark the best I could do was stumble around feeling my way along blindly but with the light I was confident and able to what I needed to do. In the old days, before electricity, I guess people got used to either sleeping through the dark or making do once the sun went down with only candle light or lanterns. They were used to it, never having had the benefit of bright, electric light. But for me, who has experienced the benefit of electric light, being in the darkness was not fun at all. I’m not used to it, and I don’t like it.

As Christians, there is a lot of symbolism in the Bible about being light in a dark world. And it says that when the Light came, people loved the darkness rather than the Light. Spiritually, there are a lot of people still blindly groping along in darkness, while we have the light. I am convicted that so often I am quiet and too content to enjoy the light myself but am not purposeful and looking for opportunities to help others to see the light, too. I have had to confess that I am often fearful to speak up, but I am learning to pray that my heart would be changed and I would be open and seeking opportunities to share the hope that is within me.

Something I’ve realized recently, too, is that in the culture we live in, we have so much affluence and comfort and seeming good things, that it is hard for people in the dark to recognize how dark it is, to see their need for salvation. Kind of like our comfort and security function as night lights bright enough that we don’t see the dark for how dark it really it, but not so bright that we see the truth we need to see, either. I am beginning to understand what Jesus meant when He said that it was hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. We are so prone to trust in temporal things and in relative goodness, what we define as good, comparing ourselves to others instead of seeing that it is God’s standard to which we need to compare ourselves, realizing that there we all fall short. Every single one of us. Only with that realization that we cannot measure up will we begin to see our need and begin to recognize our darkened sight. I also realize that once exposed to and living in the true light, I don’t want to go back to the darkness. More and more, the things that the world sees as fun and needful and harmless, I am more and more uncomfortable being around and don’t have the desire to participate in them any longer.

May I purpose not to hide my light under a bushel, but to let it shine for the glory of my Lord Jesus Christ, that others may be drawn to Him and brought out of the darkness into the light. May I be like that flashlight and point to the hope in the midst of the darkness, aiming the light away from myself and straight to Jesus and reflect His glory to my neighbors and friends and family. And may I do more than type those words and think about them, but do them.

1 comment:

Julie Stiles Mills said...

I really can relate to this, but something else occurred to me. While in the dark, stumbling around, YOU had a purpose - to find that flashlight. You know the source of light and you can find it no matter how dark it gets.

I'm singing a song in church tomorow and some of the lyrics are:

I know you’re listening, in the silence of this night. The news is blistering, but I hold on to your light. Though there’s a darkness all around us, by my faith, I know you’re there . . . (Mother and Father's Prayer by Colin Raye and Melissa Manchester)