When the Power Goes Out—Do You See the Contrast?

We’re in the bedroom watching Auburn basketball on TV. The first half is almost over. Auburn is losing.

We begin to feel hungry. It’s about 5:30 p.m. It’s Saturday, our pizza day, so Jeff walks into the kitchen to preheat the oven. He pulls the frozen pizza from the freezer and lays it on the pan.

And then?

Total darkness.

All light disappears. The heat pump is silent. The basketball game is gone.

I reach for my phone (mentally noting that the battery is at 26%) and click on the flashlight app. I stumble into the kitchen to find Jeff. Together we look out the window to see if the neighbors have electricity.

The whole neighborhood has gone dark in our small Alabama community.

/ / /

The woman keeps her phone fully charged at night when possible. She needs it to work so she’ll hear the air raid alarm.

Living in a war-torn city in Ukraine, she’s stopped planning for the future. Her goal is to survive another day, this day, maybe with electricity, maybe not. Maybe with running water, maybe not.

Central heating and the internet are now luxuries she once took for granted. But not now.

/ / /

Jeff and I wonder what we’ll do for supper now that we can’t cook. We decide on salads. 1-2-3 we quickly open and close the fridge to grab the lettuce, cheese, ham, dressing.

I now have candles burning and a real flashlight to navigate the house. It’s enough light to open the crackers from the pantry and get ice from the freezer for our drinks.

We retreat back to the bedroom and close the door, trapping in the heat, hoping it’ll stay warm enough for the duration of the outage. The low tonight will be around 52 degrees F. The bedroom is at 70 now.


/ / /

The surgeon in Kyiv understands the importance of the operation. He and his staff have prepared themselves and the patient. But with no electricity, it won’t be optimal.

Nonetheless, they begin the surgery.

Several attendants in masks and scrubs point their phone’s flashlights to shine on the patient.

The work goes on.

/ / /

I use wifi to check Facebook on my phone. Our neighborhood FB group is currently active: Are you without electricity, too? Does anyone know what happened? Did you hear the sirens shortly after it went dark?

No one has answers.

Jeff and I finish our candlelight dinner. We hotspot his iPad and find a YouTube comedy show to watch.

In the dark we snuggle under the covers and laugh at the jokes by the comedian.

We comment that maybe the power should go out more often.

/ / /

Waves of missiles rise through the air, targeting Ukraine’s energy grid. Many more Ukrainians—millions now—are without power as the season’s temperatures continue to drop.

Without their energy infrastructure, homes and businesses and hospitals and schools cannot function.

Basic needs cannot be met.

The coldest winter months are still to come. . . .

/ / /

Two hours later . . .

Light! Heat! TV!

In another blink of an eye, as quickly as it went out, the electricity whirs back on. Everything comes back to life in our house.

We have to reset our microwave clock, our TV internet, and recharge our phones. I return the candles to their shelves.

I plug in my laptop. Jeff checks Twitter. The Auburn basketball game is over; they lost to Memphis 72-83.

We still don’t know what caused our power outage.

But we no longer have to worry about it.

* * *

Oh, the contrast. {sigh}

Share your thoughts in the comments.

28 thoughts on “When the Power Goes Out—Do You See the Contrast?

  1. Tina Truelove

    Oh wow. What a great post! Right after Thanksgiving, I ordered a puzzle for my new little granddaughter. Several days went by and I hadn’t received any emails or confirmations about my order. I had checked the sellers rating before I ordered. It was 100% positive. I checked to see where the puzzle was coming from. I had not checked that when I ordered. It was coming from the Ukraine! I wondered if I would ever get the puzzle. Then I wondered if the seller was even still alive. I saw the contrast then. I prayed for the seller and decided that if I didn’t get it, I just didn’t get it. I continued to pray for the seller. The puzzle suddenly arrived without any notifications. I’ll never see my little granddaughter playing with that puzzle and not think of that seller in the Ukraine and praying that she and her family is OK. Thank you for a wonderful post and hopefully all who read this will see the contrast. I’ll be sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

  2. Tea With Jennifer

    Yes Lisa! I too think & pray for those in the Ukraine living with the horror of war, an unthinkable thing in our war free countries.
    May we continue to pray for justice & peace against such evil!
    blessings, Jennifer

  3. Donna

    Lisa, we take so much for granted here in America. I know when we were on the mission field in Albania with water only 2 hours a day if we were lucky and electric one hour, we sure learned what was important.
    But I will never trade those quiet hours reading to my 3 small children by candle light or playing games as a family by the woodstove for any amount of water and electric.
    How many times we would all be disappointed when the lights came back on!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh my, Donna. I can’t imagine those living conditions you endured. It’s so easy for me to take both the small and large conveniences here for granted. But people all over the world get by with much less, and still are able to find contentment. May I learn to do likewise. Thank you for sharing this, friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The contrast is almost too much when I really think about it. My heart and prayers go out to those who are enduring such tragedies day in and day out while I sit here in my warm house and with a full belly. 🙁 May we not take these blessings for granted. Merry Christmas to you too, sweet Paula.

  4. Harry Katz

    A very thoughtful post, Lisa. Thanks.

    Yes we’re privileged to be able to treat a power failure or an internet outage as a temporary inconvenience. Everyone else everywhere else on the plant should have the same privilege.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I agree, Harry. Many of our luxuries are possible for others to have as well, all around the globe, if only we could all address the injustices of this world. I appreciate the books and information you share to help enlighten us on making the world a more equitable place.

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