When I was a child, power outages were just plain fun. It meant popcorn on the wood stove, fishing for flashlights, scrounging for supplies and scaring each other by popping out from behind a door. It meant heading to the bathroom in the pitch dark- and then remembering that a source of light would be needed. I was unafraid and taken care of. The rotary phone usually still worked. Literally my brothers and I would cheer when the lights when out-even the time it went out mid-Thanksgiving Day one year. Our turkey was done. I learned later that others were not as fortunate. Many barbeques were fired up in Port Orchard that year.
As an adult, power outages meant stress. With babies who would not drink cold bottles, days off from school, hours without the distraction of electronics, limited light hours to play board games or read books and a sick husband, I came to my wit’s end a few times. My dad brought us wood a few times. My mom sent food and ice for our cooler.
Once, the power was out for six days when we lived in Seaside (no wood stove or fireplace and the folks were States away). Our city made the national news, supplies could not be brought in due to downed trees (we were largely out of food and water at the stores) and our cell phones worked only in one tip of the county near the beach. While trying to conserve gas, people drove there every other day or so to give out-of-area families an update. I was cold. I dreaded the dark each night and was pretty sure insanity was knocking at my door. I felt like every moment was from hundreds of years ago-I was either trying to sanitize the dishes from the last meal in some way or trying to figure out how to cook the next meal. This took HOURS each day. And although we had a little camp cooker, propane in the area quickly sold out. We tried to check on the older neighbors but more often, the knock was on our door. At one point, we had two meals of fresh sturgeon as the neighbors cleared out their deep freezer. I was the adult. I was responsible. Power outages were no longer fun.
These days, power outages are slightly more fun. The kids are grown and fairly responsible, and my hubby now takes good care of us. The pressure is greatly reduced.
But where would I have been without community?
The more I read and get to know God, the more I realize that we were never meant to do life alone. He placed us here in a planned community-to support and love each other. To uphold each other when things get tough. To show love to our neighbors. To care for others. To show light when a house is in darkness.
Going uphill is so much easier when others are there to help push and provide some of what you need along the way. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
There have been times when I have isolated myself from community. When I have barricaded myself in. When I have been stubborn and insisted that I can do it on my own. Sometimes, I pull into myself. I put up a wall or shell and pretend I am both independent and untouchable.
But none of that is true.
I am nothing without you. And, admit it or not, you need me too. WE are community. If no one is reaching out to you, please reach out to them.
They are waiting for you.