Janet Perreault

Feel the Power

Posted on December 5, 2011 | in Uncategorized | by

Last night we had a power outage and it got me to thinking about all kinds of power outages, not just electrical.  Of course, the electrical power outage is definitely an inconvenience.  I was about a minute away from popping some popcorn (the old fashioned way) so Mr. P. and I could enjoy our almost-healthy snack (can we say butter?) while we watched a favorite show.  In a nano-second, the lights are off, the glow of the Christmas tree lights have more than dimmed, and the television has been silenced.  Fortunately, I had several candles on the coffee table as holiday décor, so we were without light for less than a minute.

We could see the snow falling on our deck, illuminated by moonlight as we snuggled under a comforter on the couch; it doesn’t take long for the heat to dissipate on a cold night when the furnace is no longer functioning.  We called the utility company and got a recording that our power would be restored in two to four hours.  I marveled at how quickly they made that recording as a way to reassure their customers.

Just an hour before the lights went out, I had been reading a little book of Christmas recollections about life in the days when families had no running water and the children had to wait under mounds of covers before the wood burning stove could heat the drafty old houses enough to allow the children to scamper up, get dressed, have breakfast and finally open their simple, but much-anticipated Christmas gifts.  Just a day in the life of a family in those days, but in today’s fast-paced world, two to four hours is a painfully long stretch of darkness and silence.

As my husband and I sat in companionable silence, I thought about the circumstances that may have led to our plunge into darkness; perhaps someone had slid off the road and slammed into a utility pole, I prayed that they would be okay.  And thinking of the utility workers in single-digit weather attempting to repair the problem at 9 o’clock at night, I prayed for them as well.  My cell phone rang; it was my neighbor checking to see that we were okay and wondering if we wanted to come over and share the warmth of their fireplace.  We declined to leave our cozy comforter, but were touched to have the kindness of neighbors that we have known for 20 years.

A lot is said about power these days, who has it and who doesn’t.  We debate the power of the government vs. the power of the people, seldom using the word “and” instead of “vs.” We ponder who has the power in the workplace, in the relationship or the marriage, in the family.  We sometimes forget that words have power and that we can use that power to hurt or to heal.   Of course, intellectually we know we have the power to change, but we’re not certain if we have the courage or discipline to make it happen.

It’s important, too, to consider where our Ultimate Power comes from, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the utility company.  I challenge readers today to take a couple of minutes out of your busy, electronically-powered day, including those who are compelled to defer to high-tech gadgets at an alarming rate throughout the day, and reflect, even briefly, on the privileges we enjoy, the blessing of family, friends, and neighbors.  We might even go so far as to think of some ways we might make our community and our world better this week.  And if you’ve discovered a Greater Power (whom I call God), give thanks for that, too.  Have a power-full day.

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Janet Perreault


Contact Info:

Janet Perreault
Speaking from Experience
Colorado Springs, CO
Cell: (719) 339-8991
Office (719) 531-0190

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