Each morning starts off about the same. I wake up listening for the sound of the water pump or looking for the illuminated light on my extension cord. Both of these things indicate one thing, power. Most days I hear the pump and see the light. I know I can start my day and go on, business as usual, usually.
Last Thursday night, during a strong storm, the power went off in flashy dramatic fashion. And stayed off. And didn’t turn on for one week. Something about the power being off makes me feel, well, powerless. I can’t do work on my laptop, correspond via email, talk to my loved ones, exercise with music, turn on a light, or pump up my air mattress. The lack of these small, seemingly mundane things undoes me.
I woke up that Friday to dark silence. No hum from the pump, no light from the power strip. Somehow my computer battery was also completely dead. I tried to start my day off ignoring this small inconvenience. But then Saturday came. I needed power and was losing patience. I huffed, I puffed, and I rolled my eyes. I mentally willed the power to come on. The rain that caused the short circuited power supply did the same to my patience. I had none. I asked everyone, from a six year old to a 65 year old, when they thought the power would return. When they replied, “I don’t know,” I reverted to being a 5 year old and retorted, “I know you don’t know but what do you think?” The answers varied from a few days to a month. Clearly they weren’t trying to tell me what I wanted to hear.
Monday slowly rolled around and I surrendered. The 24 hour day seemed to double. I simultaneously felt like time was dragging but going by too fast. I organized my room, itemized my receipts and realized that my attitude was reflecting a complete lack of creativity. There was, after all, a whole “outside” that did have plenty of light for 14 hours. There was a garden project to work on, math assessments to conduct and translation questionnaires to be copied. Did I really need electricity to guide my day? Not only that but surely, with 36 kids running around, it wouldn’t be too hard to fill my time.
Later, I returned to my room and sat quietly. Suddenly there was nothing to distract me… from me. There they were; my thoughts, my fears, my failures, my future and my faith. It didn’t matter if I wanted to watch how animals eat for a mental break, look on pinterest for inspiration or email my family. I had to be still. I was forced to connect with the mess swirling in my mind, confront my lack of trust in Him and address my fears face on. Maybe it was only in this complete disconnection that I could connect with the One that really matters. I realized that I lacked so much discipline in making quiet time with God. Maybe this was His gentle reminder. Maybe it’s only in admitting that we are powerless that we can make room for our God who is all Powerful.