Have you ever gotten to bed after midnight only to wake up about four or five hours later with the lights flickering, flashing light in the room, a crackling sound, the smoke detector beeping, and soon to hear the cry of “Fire! Fire!”? That’s about what happened to me Tuesday night…
I got to bed late Tuesday night due to an encouraging conversation with one of my siblings, so I was quite sleepy and was sound asleep in seconds. I had set my alarm early so I could shovel out the driveway if necessary, as they were calling for snow and freezing rain.
As I related in the first paragraph, I woke up – not to my alarm (I had long ago slept through that) – but to the smoke detector at 6:30. My initial reaction was to think that we must be having a power cut, because that smoke detector is connected to the wall power and beeps whenever the power turns on or off. But in the few seconds it took me to wake up a little more, I realised that it was making one long solid beep. Furthermore, the light in the hall was flickering, and a strange yellowish flashing light was filling the room, along with a strange crackling sound.
Suddenly Jonathan rolled over and sat bolt upright in his bed. That’s unusual for him – usually he sleeps soundly and wakes up slowly. At this point my still three-quarters asleep brain began to register that something might be seriously wrong. When my brother suddenly jumped out of bed and dashed out of the room, I followed suite, noticing a little more clearly the flashing light in our second-story bedroom. Glancing out the window in another room, Jonathan said urgently, “There’s a fire out there!”
Soon the cries of “Fire!” had just about everyone awake in the house. At this point, the power had cut, and the rush down the stairs soon had me about half awake. Standing out on the balcony, we could see the fire.
In order to appreciate what happened next, I have to tell you what was actually going on. What had actually happened was that due to excessive amounts of snow and ice, a tree had fallen on the power line going to our house and the neighbours’, putting enough pressure on the line to break its joint on the main line, but not enough to totally separate them. The result was that the electricity was jumping the gap between the wires, creating an unforgetable light show.
Someone (I don’t know who) said to call 911. Having only been awake for some 45 seconds, Yours Truly was none too genius, and said, “Don’t call too fast – it might just be fireworks!” I guess I was somewhat justified in that only few weeks ago the police got called on our neighbours for possible domestic violence because they set off a couple firecrackers early in the morning.
Still, setting off fireworks in the ditch between the road and a patch of forest under the powerline would warrant an investigation in and of itself, and, fortunately, my advice was not followed. Sadly, the sparking stopped too fast for me to be able to get any pictures. Happily, the sparking didn’t start a fire anywhere else.
The firemen arrived within 10 minutes, and in view of the fact that Sherbrooke Hydro trucks were so badly tied up they had to call in workmen from an hour away, Hydro Quebec arrived surprisingly quickly. By shortly after noon, they had our power up and running.
As I made my way about my electro-free morning, I realised that I sometimes get power outages in my spiritual life. When I fail to be connected to my source of energy and joy – Christ – it is certain that when conflicts arise, and struggles come, I will not have the strength and power to meet them head on.
Just as a house without power is unable to function normally, I am unable to function as God desires if I am not looking to Him for my strength and joy. One of my favourite hymns reads,
“Oh soul are you weary and troubled – no light in the darknes you see? There’s light for a look at the Saviour, and life more abundant and free. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2