Thursday, July 24, 2008

A simple blessing

Yesterday after I work, I was looking forward to spending an evening pretty much by myself, taking care of some chores around the house. Among the tasks waiting for me were a pile of dishes in the sink, at least two loads of laundry, sorting the mail, vacuuming the floors and possibly scrubbing my bathroom sink. I also intended to spend some time on the treadmill, and reheat some haleem for dinner which I had made the previous night. None of it happened.

Once I got home I brought in the day's mail, and a dripping wet bagged local newspaper. The next day was trash day so I took some trash that had been left in my car and put it in the trash bin. It was late in the afternoon but the sun was still out so when I walked in to the house I didn't immediately notice a problem. In fact, I didn't realize it until I tried to open the garage door... and found the device unresponsive. First I panicked thinking it had broken or died somehow. Then I came back in the house and upon looking at the clock on the oven (which was blank), I realized that the power in the whole house was out. And then my stomach sank.

I tried to figure out why--I was worried if perhaps I hadn't informed the house's owner of a power bill and the power had been shut off? That seemed unlikely. Or maybe it was just the bad storm which had knocked out the power--we do get brief thunderstorms here almost every day which are widely scattered and occasionally severe. A power flicker isn't rare, but for it to be out entirely? It would be out on the whole street I figured--but as it was in the afternoon, I couldn't determine if any other house had power, or just their lights weren't on (lights weren't really necessary at that time of day.) Listening to some neighbors conversing outside, I concluded that other houses were also in the dark, so to speak, and that being the case I knew I wouldn't have to worry about calling the power company myself (since I don't even know what company to call!)

So since I had no power, I wouldn't be able to do any of the chores I'd scheduled. I couldn't even eat dinner! So I picked up a salad in a drive-thru and went to visit my parents for the evening, informing them of the latest goings-on in my life. I figured that by the time I had returned, the power would be back on.

As it happens... the power was still off. But in the dark, it was obvious that the first section of the street had power, my section did not, and then past my section there was power again. But since the whole strip of road--both sides of the street, a total of maybe 10 houses--was completely dark, I saw that the power was still out but knew for sure that I wasn't alone. So I pulled in, stumbled my way inside trying to get around in a house that I haven't even lived in for a month.

The house has many windows, so mostly I was okay getting around once my eyes got used to it I guess. It was a cloudy night--and clouds reflect the city lights at night so that there was some ambient light from outside--not enough to see anything clearly, but enough to avoid walking in to things. It was hardest in the bathroom though, where there was no light at all giving the sensation of blindness. So I made wudu in the dark, and prayed in the dark... and went to sleep... still in the dark. The other unpleasant thing is that the A/C was off, as well as the fans, so it was a little warmer than comfortable.

Alhamdulillah, we don't really realize sometimes how many blessings we have. Just the fact that we have this power is a huge blessing. Think about it--if you want to do anything at night, you need lights. (I didn't know the location of a lighter to light any candles, btw.) If you want to take a shower, your water heater will heat the water for you. To clean your clothes you have an automatic washing machine and a dryer--all driven by this precious utility. Hot water to wash dishes. Power to the treadmill to turn it on. Power to keep the freezer and fridge cool, to power the stove and microwave to heat food. We're so dependent on it, in our lives--it makes everything so much easier, and without it we would have to drastically change our lifestyles.

How easy Allah has made it for us--are we really grateful?

Alhamdulillah, the power came back on at or before fajr time (it was on when I woke up). And alhamdulillah that it provided me an opportunity to thank Allah for one of the many blessings that I had not, prior to then, actually given much consideration.

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