It can get pretty stormy up here in the Pacific Northwest. This Saturday offered a glimpse of the power of nature. We had gusting winds up to 50MPH and we surpassed the rainfall record for a September day: almost 2" and up to 3" in some of the outlining areas.
I am sure you are thinking... it's Seattle, doesn't it always rains...you should be used to it. Well, sort of...we don't typically get flood warnings when it rains here. And, the power usually doesn't go out. Well the rain isn't the topic but I am sure we could tie it in theologically somehow.
The issue is the power outage.
I think God has a great sense of humor. As a Generation X'er and I say that only to make a point about technology, we know what it was like before cell phones, internet, social media, etc. My kids...not so much! It was a Saturday afternoon. I was home alone with the kids, each diving into some I-have-to-do-it-now project. My oldest was doing homework. (I know, right!) The two middle girls were conquering the world in some penguin adventure game online. And my son and 2 years old were honing their ninja skills watching Ninjago on Netflix. I was taking advantage of some distracted kids and proceeded to get some World of Warcraft time. I admit, not the best way to spend the day but I figured if they were going to cancel my daughter's soccer game its best we just stay inside!
Then suddenly as if the apocalypse itself was upon us. The heavens opened up and water droplets the size of miniature horses began pelting the ground, leaving crater-like indentations everywhere it fell. The wind was blowing so hard that it looked as if the river running down my hill was in fact traveling uphill! Then it happened as if the bomb was dropped right on my house the lights, and TV went out along with the internet. Civilization as we know it in our household would be forever changed! Well, at least for the next 4.5 hours.
The initial shock of the power outage manifested in 3 different ways. My oldest lamented on not being able to finish her homework. The two conquering the icebergs began a frantic search for a light source. The two youngest blamed me for turning the TV off. Yet what ensued was nothing short of miraculous! I couldn't find any candles so I placed some LED lights in our chandelier. And, we designated the brightest and biggest light for bathroom duty. We decided we were going to play Charades. My oldest began diligently thinking up ideas. They included a bevy of Ninjago characters, animals, and scenes from the Nutcracker ballet. After we extinguished all the ideas for Charades, we began telling "Superhero" stories. We are huge Marvel fans here in the house and, as such, we have created superhero identities complete with background stories. So, we spent the next couple hours telling stories about how we got our superhero powers. They ranged from radioactive hotdogs to crazed archeological adventures in the Amazon. The ideas and stories were fantastic and we did this without power, no distractions, no crying about whose turn it is on the computer or bickering about which Ninjago episode to watch - perhaps that's the miracle?
While I suppose I could recount each and every story for you, the importance of the afternoon doesn't lie in the Superhero stories or the game of Charades. We were all home doing our own things but we were not really together, interacting with one another. How often do we get some time to just hang out and be a family? What distractions do we allow in our lives that get in the way of spending time together? That power outage is a wakeup call. We had some pizza delivered for dinner and shortly thereafter the power returned. I have to say that I was a bit sad when the lights came back on (for like 30 seconds...the Huskies were playing).
God gives us opportunities all the time. We have to be ready to realize what they are. You can call it a natural phenomenon but I don't doubt for one minute that God's hand is at work in our lives nudging and pushing us to Him. This power outage was one such occasion. I wonder how many others I have missed...
Three things to take away:
- Family time ought to be more than "under-the-same-roof"
- Unplug ever so often
- Find Christ in everything