It was 3 in the afternoon. The sun was shining. The birds were chirping. I was very seriously considering plugging my phone back in – because it was blinking with 12% battery. And I’d been sitting on the couch, typing away on my laptop for quite a while without plugging it in, so it was running a respectable 24%. 23%.
Life after surgery. Pure glamour, let me tell you.
And then – BOOM.
I knew what happened. I heard it – and my brain immediately started arguing with itself. Surely, that wasn’t the power going out. That would be ridiculous. That would be inconvenient.
No, seriously. That would suck.
See – at that moment, I was stuck on the couch. Physically, actually stuck on the couch. I mean, I could have moved if my apartment burned down or something. But at that point – any movement at all pretty much guaranteed that my insides would start screaming and cursing and lamenting the day that I did not listen to my doctor and stay On. The. Couch.
I was also on pain meds. This negated any ability to read and retain the printed word. So – no reading for me. No internet. No phone. No movies. No laundry. (All together now – bummer.) Even the burners on my gas-burning stove are apparently electric. So- good news, I could open the gas line but not light it. That felt dangerous. (What was I saying about my apartment burning down again?) Cooking was clearly out.
And then the power stayed off for almost six hours. And you know what happened?
I looked at my amazing flowers from my office.
I did not disappear in a puff of smoke from lack of contact with the outside world. I listened to the silence.
My amazing friend Anna brought me dinner (not because my power was out. Still recovering from that whole surgery thing…) Thankfully, she brought over salad fixins – so lack of an oven was not an issue.
I texted Luke to let him know that in a little while – when my phone battery finally died – that I would be totally unreachable, but that I myself was not dead. This was important.
I got bored. Really, truly, terribly bored for the first time in a very long time.
I tried to read and discovered that it still wasn’t going to happen.
I talked to God. He and I had that crazy discussion when I was in the hospital and thought I was going to die – Hey, God. If there’s anything we should talk about, I think now might be a good time. And it turns out that’s not such a bad question to ask even when I don’t think I’m dying. You know – just to check in and see. You never know what he might say back.
I noticed stuff like the quiet hum of my refrigerator and the buzzing of all of Luke’s crazy electronics. Or rather – I noticed the complete absence of the hums and buzzing I’m surrounded with all day every day.
The sun went down. And my house was pitch black.
I lit candles.
And I took a picture of said candles with the last 3% of my phone battery. (When the world ends, Instagram will soldier on…)
The whole day was beautiful.
When the power whooshed back on, filling my home with noises and buzzing and the ability to keep my freezer, you know, frozen – I was incredibly grateful. I must have hit light switches at least 15 times that day even when I knew the power was still off.
And yet – I kind of missed the silence and the sweetness of a few moments that I could only listen.
Those moments are completely fragile, and yet somehow, I think they were completely essential to my soul that day.
How can I get back there every so often? Why is it so hard to turn everything off and just be?
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