Losing Power


Everything went dead.

Great, I thought. This power outage would probably last at least eight hours. The list of tasks that needed electricity ran through my mind. No laundry would get done. No email could be sent. No bread would get made—unless of course I wanted to do it by hand. Which I didn’t—not while holding my teething, fussy toddler.

And the tropical heat, with no fans to stir it away, would soon sap my energy, though it never seemed to affect my energetic kids.

Even after almost seven years of living in Indonesia, the hours-long power outages—especially the unplanned ones—get me all frazzled….and grumpy. I hate losing power.

I hate losing the other kind too.

I like my lists, my plans, my goals, my checks next to scribbled notes when they all get done. Life seems easier when I think I’m in control. Well, maybe not easier, just more productive. And I do like accomplishing things because it somehow makes me feel like the day matters. That I matter.

I walked through the house’s artificial quiet, my mind buzzing with ideas on how to reclaim the day. Run out to the store? No—just went a few days ago and my budget hasn’t yet recovered. A visit to a neighbor’s house? Not yet—too frustrated to be able to listen in my second language. Exercise? Are you kidding? With no fan, and the dribble of a shower that needed power for pressure to run well, I would spend the day as one sweaty mess.

My kids’ laughter from the backyard broke into my noisy thoughts.

Photo by Ryk Neethling, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rykneethling/4543060842/

I leaned against the frame of the back door in the steamy silence and watched them. When was the last time I played? Mom to two, wife to an MAF pilot in a place where I make all my food from scratch, where needs come knocking on my door with hands outstretched, it’s hard to stop getting things done.

Then I thought of it—my quiet time. I didn’t need electricity for that. While the merciful backyard breeze cooled my face, I worked at getting the task done. But the verses refused to be skimmed, not wanting to be checked off a list. Instead they sank into my quieted soul. I read about grace found by faith not works. Love flowing from the Source that never shuts off. Peace gained in loss—of self, of control, of humanly power. I read about the work He already accomplished so that I can rest. Things I already know, but that get lost in the noise of life and lists.

And then I played with the kids—the ball bouncing high, my soul freed from the lie that power tells. The one that says happiness lives in getting things done. The one that convinces me that it’s all up to me to meet all the needs. The one that tells me that the gift isn’t free—I must work hard to pay everything back.

I got nothing done that day—nothing seen anyway. But in losing power, my soul remembered the peace that lasts. For eternity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.