The other night the power went out in our entire subdivision. It was only a matter of a couple of hours before the problem was fixed and everything was up and running again. However, during that short period of time, I managed to learn a few lessons. First of all, I take a lot for granted. I hadn't realized before that night, that the gate to get into our neighborhood is powered by electricity. Lucky for me someone had manually opened it so that I, and others arriving late, could actually get home. I hadn't previously realized how much I appreciate having lamp posts on every corner...until I had to drive down a pitch black road surrounded on each side by unlit houses. I had never before considered that it would be impossible to open the garage door, thus making it impossible to get into the house . Lucky for me, John had gotten home before the power outage, and had the front door open in a warm welcoming manner. He had rounded up as many flashlights and candles as he could, but even still, I couldn't navigate around my own house without some difficulty. I had never before realized how wonderful it is to have a microwave to warm Ruby's milk, or to be able to command a whole room to light up just by the flip of a switch. Without any light, it was pretty difficult to get Ruby ready for bed. I was fairly confident that I did okay, until she woke up crying in the middle of the night. I went in to find her little legs frozen like Popsicles. As it was, without the light, I hadn't noticed that her blanket had fallen from her crib. So yeah, there are a lot of things about having electricity that I had previously taken for granted. But the power outage also had me thinking on the flip side. One of the first things I said to John upon entering our seemingly lifeless house was...oh no, now what are we supposed do tonight? I had never consciously realized how much we rely on power for entertainment. What a boring night this will be, I concluded, I'm not going to be able to get on the computer and finish my blog post, and I've been waiting ALL DAY to see who will be eliminated from American Idol.
So, I said to John, I guess we'll just have to sit around all night doing nothing.
And then the Spirit reproved me...Why not pick up your Book of Mormon? You don't need any more light or power (to read the word of God) than what emanates from the candle sitting two feet away from you. I was humbled as my thoughts were directed to Parley Pratt, and how when he first discovered the Book of Mormon, he read it all day long, eating was a burden to him...and then when night came and darkness fell all around him, he continued to read; by the light of a candle or lamp, he read...and read...and read...and even sleep became burdensome to him. It was then that I started thinking about how sometimes our modern conveniences, as wonderful and convenient as they are, can also be to our great detriment. I wonder - if there was no electricity - how much more time I would spend reading my scriptures, praying, or taking quiet moments out to ponder and think - to receive revelation. If we didn't have electricity, how much more time would I spend strengthening my relationship with my husband through wholesome conversation and quality time together? How many more memories could I be creating with Ruby, and for Ruby, if I chose to spend less time checking emails, or uploading/editing pictures, or blogging, or reading other blogs, or browsing the Internet?...none of which were even around before the invention of electricity. I know that we are blessed by having these modern conveniences, but sadly, at times, I think I have allowed them to take over. They cause me to commit sins of omission. Do I sometimes omit my scripture study because I'd rather be blogging? Or if I do read, is it just a quick rush through of a chapter or a few verses so that we can start LOST or American Idol? Do I ever stay up too late on the computer so that when I do go to bed, I end up omitting my prayers because I'm just too tired?
I'm really not saying that TV, and Internet, or anything else that uses electricity, is bad...as long as it doesn't take priority...over something even better.
Just a little lesson the Spirit taught me as I read the final chapters of Alma...by candlelight.