Shepherd of Souls: When the Darkness Came

This essay originally appeared in the Hull Times on Thursday, November 4, 2021

The weather forecast told of a storm coming, and I thought I should get ready. Some things in the backyard needed to be put away and a few odds and ends to care for before the storm arrived. Well, I did none of them. I was usually over-prepared for storms, and this time I did nothing to get ready. 

When I woke from my slumber, the lights were out, and it was cold in the house. My first thought was that I was glad this was not February, or it would have been much colder. Then I set about finding the flashlight and the candles, all the things I should have done the night before when the lights were still on. Thankfully, the stove is gas so that we would have coffee, albeit instant.

The cloud of darkness began to lift as the rays of the sun began to come through the window. The light brings an understanding of what is around, and those sun rays bring some warmth with them. But not far away, darkness was there lurking, in places where the sun had not yet reached.

It is a strange feeling when what is familiar is gone. We take electricity and many other conveniences for granted. I mean, why not? We flip the switch, and the lights come on. We turn on the faucet, and the water comes out.  We do not have to think about it or take care of it other than paying the bill, and it is always there. But without its light and warmth that electricity produces, the familiar quickly becomes unfamiliar. Life becomes a little more complicated as we stumble around in the darkness looking for this and that.

At times like these, I am incredibly grateful for the men and women who take care to ensure that the power comes back on. I know it can be frustrating, and we do not always understand why, but eventually, the lights do come back on. As much as we would like our lights to come back on when the wind is howling, it is not safe to be up on a pole.

Most of these folks come from out of town and have had to leave their families behind to come here and help us out. They work under the worst conditions of wind and rain, two things that don’t always mix well with electricity. But regardless of the danger and the working conditions, they come. They come because people need help.

It is at times like these when we can witness the best in people. Neighbors are helping neighbors and strangers helping a stranger. Although people are on edge and tempers can flare, we do rise to the challenge when needed. 

It is at times like these that I am filled with hope. I am hopeful that, as a country we can come together again and help each other out.  And not only when the power goes out.

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