One of my favorite memories growing up was our candle lit game nights. When the electricity would go out, my parents would huddle us all around the kitchen table with a handful of candles and we would just play games together. It was like a spontaneous holiday, it felt like Christmas!
There was the excitement from the storm and the mystery of when the lights would come back on. Everyone would get together from all corners of the house and share the light in one room. All we needed was a deck of cards and hours of family fun would ensue.
When the lights came back on it was disappointing because the buzz of light meant that chores had to be finished, tv shows would be watched and everyone would spread out to their separate corners again.
Yesterday, when a brief storm swept through our area, we arrived home to no electricity on our entire street. After racing to the house under a downpour of rain (the garage wouldn’t open without electricity!) the kids were all abuzz with excitement.
Recalling my childhood I immediately gathered them together and… just kidding. I wish that happened. Here’s what really happened.
I checked my phone for % of battery and wondered if I had enough juice to play Gardenscapes until the power returned. I sent 2 of the 5 kids to their friend’s house and gave the 2 babies snacks in an attempt to entertain them without the tv. My oldest decided to play on his tablet until the battery ran out.
Just being real.
…and I felt guilty.
About 30 minutes later I had 6 kids (my 3 plus 3 neighborhood kids) upstairs building a “storm fort with camping lanterns” with my clean linens while I bathed the 2 babies for bedtime.
About 30 minutes after that I sent them all downstairs so the babies could sleep and a massive game of hide-and-seek began. When another neighborhood kiddo asked to come in I finally sent them all outside since the storm had passed.
But I was still missing the point. I was still trying to give them entertainment from a source besides myself. I even considered hiding out in my minivan to charge my phone and have a break!
Again, being real.
I realized how dependent I had become on electricity to meet the entertainment needs of my children. When the power goes out we have to face each other, relate to each other, play with each other, talk to each other. For some of us, that’s awkward. We’ve lost the ability to maintain face to face interaction. We’ve lost the joy in people.
When the panic of no internet finally passes, you realize that spending face to face time (not facing forward at the tv time) with your loved ones with ZERO distraction is exactly what you needed.
It’s life to the soul and healing to relationships. When all that’s left is real people (not social media people or tv show people) we’ve found the most important thing. This power outage reminded me that my people, my family, need my attention a million times more than Gardenscapes does.
In fact, I think intentional power outages are in order!
Are your head phones at the gym keeping you from reaching out to the mom next to you that you see every week? Is gaming on your phone in the break room during lunch keeping you from inviting your coworker to church? Is social media in the waiting room distracting you from the nudge of the Holy Spirit asking you to pray for someone? Is Netflix on the sofa keeping you from connecting with your spouse that’s sitting in the chair next to you?
What consumes your focus? What is distracting you from what matters most? Intentionally remove the power from that distraction and see what God has for you that you’ve been missing out on.
Maybe do no tv once a week, or unplug from your social media on the weekend, or just start with going to church Sunday mornings instead of vegging out in front of the tv. Commit to not doing _______________ and see what you’ve been missing that was in front of your face all along.
Oh, and it was Colonel Mustard with the pistol in the living room…