It's a quiet Saturday afternoon and you are relaxing at home.
It's cloudy outside, but no rain.
Without warning, the power goes out.
A few minutes later, you get a text that the power is out in the entire country.
What do you do?
What goes through your mind?
Do you call your family? Check on neighbors? Do you stay calm, or do you panic? Do you figure it's no big deal - or when you get that text do you start imagining that it's the end of the world?
This happened last week in Central America. A power failure in Panama took out power in parts of that country, the entire country of Costa Rica, and parts of Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
It was a cloudy Saturday afternoon. My wife was at work and I was home with our 3-year-old daughter.
The power went out. But since this happens every few days, it wasn't any cause for concern.
But then I got this text from my wife:
Here were my thoughts:
1:30 pm “Uh oh… I’ve never heard of that before… 'The power is out in the entire country'?!"
1:35 pm "OK no problem - We just need to keep the fridge closed so the food doesn’t go bad."
1:45 pm “Hmmm this could be a problem. We have food but what if the water stops working? I’ll fill up a big container of water.” (I fill up a giant water cooler bottle)
2:00 pm “If the power is out in the entire country, it will probably be out for more than a few hours. Maybe a day or two? A few weeks? Oh boy…”
2:01 pm (I text a friend in the U.S. who asked what the weather was like. When I try to look up the temperature, my phone said “no service”)
2:02 pm “No cell service. Oh no. This is a big problem. What if I can’t get in touch with Shannon? What’s happening in the rest of the country? Chaos?”
2:03 pm “Is this the end of the world?”
2:04 pm “What if the ice cream in the freezer melts before I get to eat it? I’d better eat that now before it melts.”
2:05 pm (I eat the ice cream sandwich from our freezer)
2:08 pm “That was a pretty selfish move… I probably should have been more concerned about our neighbors than the ice cream melting. I wonder if any neighbors are in trouble? Can’t think of any that are older, or that live alone…”
2:37 pm “Maybe I should call our pastor to see if the church is rallying people to go help anyone who’s in trouble?”
2:38 pm Power comes back on
2:39 pm (Sigh of relief) "Oh good, it’s not the end of the world.”
I text Shannon to let her know the power is back on.
I learned a few lessons that Saturday. Next time there is any kind of emergency, I need to:
We are grateful that this power outage was quickly resolved and we don't know of anyone that was hurt by it.
But it could be different next time - and we will be prepared.
Are you prepared for an emergency? What's your plan - what will you to prepare and to respond when it happens? Comment below and let me know.
We finally found a long-term rental in our budget.
Where did we go wrong?
We forgot what was actually important.
We focused on the technical stuff like a short commute, square footage, # of bedrooms, etc. and lost focus of how actually living in this home would fit in with our family’s values and mission.
Instead of looking for a home with x square feet, we should have focused more on whether or not we’d have opportunities to build relationships with neighbors, because we value community.
Instead of looking for a home with a nice kitchen, we should have focused more on the opportunity for 2-year-old Grace to have kids nearby that she could play with, because we want to teach Grace how to be a good friend.
At some point, we’ll move again.
My mother-in-law Bonnie was digging her nails into the dashboard and showing signs of a panic attack.
My wife Shannon was screaming from the back seat "Don't you dare drive through that! Turn around!"
My daughter Grace, well, I don't know what she was thinking but probably something like "Wow this is fun!"
As swimming frolickers in the creek moved aside, I ignored everyone in the car and plowed through it, praying that we didn't get swept downstream and right over the small waterfall to our left.
We had never been there and I was relying on Waze to get us there.
When we were close and Waze told us we only had about 1 kilometer left to go, we came across this giant rock with the word "waterfall" and a giant arrow telling us to turn right:
To the right was an entry gate and women that were collecting money.
But Waze was telling me to continue straight and make a right a little further on.
Convinced that Waze was right and everyone else was wrong - including the giant rock sign, the women collecting money (which turned out to be donations for a local school), and my wife and mother-in-law; I defiantly drove straight past the entry and found ourselves facing a creek.
I continued to defy everyone else's advice and drove straight through the creek.
Eventually we came to a dead end, and I had no other choice but to admit that I (and Waze) was wrong.
We backtracked over a bridge that crossed back over the creek (which I had ignored when we drove straight through the water), followed the giant rock sign, made a donation to the school, and found the waterfall.
Sometimes you just have to trust the advice of others.
Were you ever so convinced that you were right that you completely ignored wise advice and directions that others who loved you were giving you?
I've done that too many times to count.
Sometimes we are right, but if someone we love and trust is telling us that we're doing the wrong thing or going the wrong direction, we should probably at least pause to think "Hey, maybe I'm wrong about this thing".