"In ordinary life
we hardly realize
that we receive a great deal more
than we give,
and that it is only with gratitude
that life becomes rich."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
[Classic post from 5-26-16]
I awoke this morning somewhere around 5:30 am. The clock couldn't tell me what the time was because it was dark. I got up. It very quickly became clear that the power was off. The sun was just coming up and it was light outside, so I wandered around, then to my office area.
It's always kind of exciting when something like this happens because it is a dramatic change from the norm. So, first thing, I decided to meditate for a bit. Then I thought about a cup of coffee, but that takes power, as does my normal breakfast. I thought about what I might do in the meantime. I'm sure the power will be on soon enough.
I got my iPhone and went to the PG&E website (our electrical and gas company), and saw that there was an outage in about a 2-mile circle around my house. They said it began and 5:14 am and had an unknown cause, that they were in transit to the site of the outage and estimated that it would be fixed by 9 am. Hmmm, I thought. . . four hours without power, how fun!
I pulled out my Kindle Fire to download a book I purchased yesterday, but it requires a Wi-Fi connection, as does my iPad when I tried to check the weather. I laughed. So I pulled out some papers of a project I'm currently working on. With windows and blinds open, there is plenty of light, so I turned the page to begin, and the power came on. It was 6:37 am. I thought, dang! Those PG&E people are quick! Back to my normal world of power and powered devices.
I thought how many people would be so upset by this, calling to complain, bashing PG&E for being too slow, not anticipating the outage, and a long list of blame. I thought how even when it came back on so quickly, they might find fault in how long it took, how they were inconvenienced. Complain, complain, complain.
Have you ever met anyone like that? Do you know someone like that? All they seem to do is to find fault, and it is 100% always outside of themselves. It's always someone or some company or some other entity that is doing it to them. The smallest inconvenience is painful to them. They are lost outside of their norm.
Here I am celebrating this new opportunity, being amazed at how dependent I've become on electricity and powered devices, Internet connectivity, and more. I thought how unprepared I am to live this way without power, and yet there isn't much point of preparing for it because it is such a rare occurrence. I do have a Coleman camp stove that I haven't touched since I bought it twenty years ago or so. But those dang PG&E people are just too darn quick. I didn't even get a chance to begin to adapt to my new environment.
The lesson for me in this trivial incident follows the quote above by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in that I hardly realize that I receive a great deal more than I give. I give PG&E a little bit of money each month, and I get 30 days of power and gas. I get hot water as much as I want. I get to use my electric stove, my microwave oven, my regular oven, my Keurig coffee maker, and what would I do without my refrigerator? I get to type this into my computer, connected to the Internet (by a different provider, but still requires electricity), touching the entire world in some tiny way. I get to watch movies which I love to do. I get to have light when it is dark outside. I get to wash and dry my clothes, and so much more.
I get so much more than I give. I praise PG&E and the grid and their business in bringing me these powerful tools for a better life. I praise all of the manufacturers and providers of the things I use and the required services to use them. I pay such a dinky amount of money for these massively valuable services.
This Morning Was Another Unexpected Opportunity To See All The Value I Receive For Such A Paltry Remittance. How Blessed I Am In This Uneven Exchange.
Spread Some Joy Today--by finding your gratitude renewed.