A Letter about the Power of Power

Dear Reggie,

Hello! How is my favorite cousin? Don’t tell all of the other cousins that I said that, by the way. It might start a riot or something. Let’s just keep that between us. And don’t ask if I tell that to all of the cousins, either, okay?

Anyway, I just thought I would write and see how things were going, and to tell you about our fun weekend. You may have seen reports on the news about storms that came through a large area Saturday night. Yes, we were in that line of storms, but things weren’t too bad around our house, or so we thought. We had some rain and a little wind, but nothing too bad. That is, until the power went out.

In all the years that we have lived out in the country, the power has been pretty reliable. I can probably count on one hand the number of power outages that have lasted longer than an hour or so. It doesn’t happen all that often. So when the power went out about 11:30 Saturday night, I thought it would probably be on before too long, and definitely by the time we got up Sunday morning to go to church. After all, we hadn’t even heard any strong wind blowing, so it couldn’t be that bad, right?

I woke up a few times during the night, but each time the power was still off. By the time we were supposed to get up on Sunday morning, we still did not have any power. Thankfully, I had set the alarm on my phone on the small chance that the alarm clock still would not have power. I started checking the outage map on my phone from the local power company. Isn’t technology great these days? It showed that almost half of the county was without power! Who knew? I checked a similar map for the next county where Memphis is, and it was showing even worse news. Somewhere over 150,000 customers were without power there. Maybe the storms were worse than we thought.

Those are the times when you realize just how much you depend on power to do things. There were no lights. There was no way to charge my dwindling phone battery, except for taking it out to the car. There wasn’t even the usual cell phone service, because apparently all of the cell phone towers around us were running off of generator power, which lowered their signals. So to use the internet or make calls on our phones, we had to stand still in just the right places. Every time I would go into a room, I would instinctively flip the light switch, only to remember that the lights wouldn’t work.

And for all of you city folks, there is one more downside to no power for us country folks, and that is no water. Because our water comes from a well in the ground, it takes power to run the pump to keep up the water pressure. No power, no water pressure. No water pressure, no shower. No shower, no friends once we get to church and they all move away from us. That’s pretty serious.

I made a call to my parents, but they were without power, too. So we called the Riedels, and not only did they have power but also they were nice enough to tell us we could come shower at their house. If you don’t have a friend that will let you use their shower, find one now. Because you never know when you might need a friend like that.

As it turns out, the church building did not have power, either. So we improvised by having a worship service out in the lobby under the frosted glass ceiling that let in plenty of light, and with the doors open to let as much air as possible flow through. We didn’t know how many people to expect, knowing that everyone was having issues, but the lobby was filled to overflowing. Everyone seemed to have a good attitude about working through the difficulties, and everyone was interested in swapping stories about the lack of power. And it was kind of fun to do something different for a change.

Our power at the house came back on sometime while we were gone, and it was nice to enjoy the television and the air conditioning for the afternoon, although the evening church service was once again in the lobby. We did have an interesting time of trying to make some VBS videos using a portable generator, but once again, that is the kind of thing that makes it all memorable.

While things did not look too bad around our house, on our way to church that morning we passed a lot of trees that had fallen across the road the closer we got to town. Crews had actually been working through the night to cut them up and clear the roads, which was nice for us. Sorry that they had to work in the rain to do that, though. That probably wasn’t how they had envisioned spending their holiday weekend.

So now, things are getting back to normal. They say this was the 3rd worst storm in recent memory. Yes, I do remember the other two quite well, too, and yes, they were worse than this one, but not all that much, I suppose.

But all of that served as a good reminder of just how dependent we are on electricity to power all that we do. Power is quite powerful. And being without power lets you know just how powerful power can be. It was a good reminder of just how blessed we are, and how we should not take those blessings for granted, because they can be taken away from us when we least expect it, even if it is only temporary.

Anyway, I hope you and the family are well. Be thankful for what you have!

Sincerely, Steve