Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lessons Learned in the Dark

Our family was one of the millions who lost power during the Derecho of 2012. It was out for a very, very long 8 days. To say it was challenging would be an understatement. When we lose power we also lose water since we're on a well. We have chickens who needed water at least twice a day, two dogs (who are currently battling fleas) and two kids so going away and staying somewhere wasn't really an option for us.

Thankfully after our power had been out a few days and other folks were getting their power back, we were loaned a generator so we would have a way to turn on a light, run our fridge and a very small air conditioner so we could at least sleep. We were also loaned a large water tank so we would have water to give the animals and something with which to flush toilets. Others gave us flats of bottled water for drinking and since it was insanely hot (temps over the 100 mark) we definitely put that to good use!

Apart from just surviving through this experience, I have decided that difficulty is a wonderful school master. The lessons we learned were invaluable.

1) It educated us on how unprepared we are for calamity. We were able to come up with a very good checklist on things we needed to do to be prepared in the future and have already started working on that list.

2) It showed us how dependent we are on modern conveniences. Many parts of the world have none of the modern conveniences we have here. It gave us a narrow view of how others live out their daily lives. I say narrow because even while we were missing running water and a/c, we still had a sturdy home to live in and a way to gather water and get away in an air conditioned car. We have no idea how spoiled we are.

3) Losing power was an excellent way to wean off of video entertainment and actually talk to each other. The TV and Wii have been off since power returned. Think we're going to keep it that way for a while.

4) It was humbling. We had to learn to ask people if we could come over for a shower, get water, accept food that was offered.

5) We learned that God is not hindered by our circumstances. We saw God provide through the kindnesses of others. He provided our every need and then some.

6) Even a loss can be a good thing. We lost everything in our fridge. It all rotted. Once everything was out of the fridge, we gave it a very good cleaning so it wouldn't smell badly. Sure we lost some food, which can be replaced, but we gained a very clean fridge!

7) Hidden stuff is brought out. Our house is old and so is the carpet that was there when we bought the house. Most of the time I can keep the smell down, but when the carpet gets wet it doesn't smell good at all. We discovered this when we had the carpet cleaned shortly after moving in. It's been on our list of things to replace but wasn't a priority item so we haven't gotten to it yet.

Well, when it's nearly 100 degrees and humid in the house, apparently the stench from whatever is under there is affected just as if someone poured a bucket over water over it. It was so bad it made my eyes water. I found this concept didn't only apply to our carpet it also applied to me. As the heat and humidity rose so did my stench. I was an impatient, grumpy, complaining mess of a human! I'm grateful God gave me a good look at my heart and the many areas that need attention.

8) All that being said the overarching lesson from this experience is that it produced an attitude of gratefulness and reminded us that Jesus is more than enough. All that's been given us are grace gifts. They could be removed anytime. If we lost our homes, our comforts, our health, would He still be enough for us or would it turn us into hardened, bitter individuals? The first half of week I would have been the latter. However our loving Father allowed me to see that about myself. I'm thankful He began a good work in me and will be faithful to complete it and to be dependent on nothing but Him.

Now here's hoping we won't be having another class any time soon! :-)


  1. Beautiful lessons and so thankful you shared them. It's giving me lots to think about!!! I am sorry we weren't in town to help when so many needed it. Love you!

  2. Hi LouAnne,
    I have to say, that's the most eye-opening post I've read in a long time. I love your words...and I needed to hear them.
    Doesn't it always seem like WE are the ones who have it the hardest...whether our health, situation, money, etc., we have this concept that WE are the only ones that have to suffer.
    Having an eye that sees others during our own misfortunes/losses is the key to life.
    If we can help others even while we're suffering, doesn't that make us more like Christ? That's what He did, and that's what we are told to be like.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I'm happy to know that you have your electricity back and that things are almost back to normal for you, but glad too that the experience has been a good lesson...not only for you, but me now as well.
    And Amen...let's pray you won't have to have another class any time.

  3. wow...I do know we are not very organized for any kind of emergency either. When we had to evacuate our home for a fire danger, we did put all our pictures and important papers in one plastic tub.

    But getting power...we have city water...we would be in a hurt....glad you all had the provisions from friends to help

  4. The Universe always has some interesting lessons in store when we least expect it, it seems. We found out about water not too long ago because of a non-working water pump. I feel your pain. Glad you gained a clean fridge from it all though! I have done without t.v as well, we are now as a matter of fact. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy our own little library.
    Great post, thank you for sharing.


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