By Sister Regina Siegfried, ASC
Recently, after one of St. Louis’ too frequent summer thunder-lightning-wind storms, many streets in my neighborhood lost power from 5 p.m. on a Friday until the next afternoon. It was an inconvenience that created a time of waiting in darkness and groping around in a dim interior. What added more irritation was that the neighbors across the street, apparently on a different grid, had lights and power.
Power and light. Since I couldn’t do what I had planned, I sat on the back porch and thought about power and light.
Why do we call electricity power? When the lights go out, why do we say that we lost power? Why did I impatiently wait for that call from Ameren Missouri, our utility, to let us know when power would be restored? I stumbled around the rooms in the early morning darkness with a flashlight so that the light on the cellphone wouldn’t run down the battery that I couldn’t charge. Power-less, was I at the mercy of Ameren to return light? From what source does our inner power generate itself and are we the birthplace of our own power?
How do we provide light in the darkness? If I have too much inner darkness, how can I be a light to and for others? Who expects that of me? Of whom do I look to for light? The back porch quickly became a spot for reflection.
I thought about people in this country and in developing nations who lack the easy and taken-for-granted access to electricity that I have. In the larger scheme of things, I knew this outage was merely a minor inconvenience and that the lights would come back on.
Somewhere in the absence of power and light is a God-spark more potent than Ameren and more bright than a candle, flashlight, or box of matches.