Friday, July 12, 2013


      We lost electric power for a few hours yesterday morning, but we didn’t lose the most important power of all – and one that’s absolutely reliable. All of us have learned by now that electric power is completely unreliable, likely to leave us powerless at any time for countless haphazard reasons. A gusty storm sweeping through (like yesterday morning’s), or a lightning strike, or a faulty transformer – all can cause whole towns to turn temporarily powerless. Yesterday, sirens sounded across town as police and utility workers labored to lead us through several hours of feeling lost without our lights and laptops.  Strangely, the outage gave me some time to consider a power that, unlike electricity, is completely dependable. I was thinking of kindness, a power that resists the strongest storms and stays as steady as ever when lightning strikes. Do we ever have to worry about losing the power to be considerate to others? Can the power to be compassionate flicker and fade out like lights? Doesn’t it last as long as we wish it to, as long as we understand its power and are open to it? Isn’t it always flowing through us, this power to offer our affection in limitless ways to others, and isn’t it always able to switch on the lights of unselfishness in our lives? Some of us most likely sat a little stunned in our homes yesterday morning as we wondered what we would do without electric power, but we’ll never need to live without the power to be kind. There always abides the undefeated gift of sharing our sympathy and understanding with others, a gift that never stops producing power, even in the severest storms and the wildest lightning.   

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