I was finally at the writers’ conference I had anticipated all year. The first day was full of networking (which I hate) and learning (which I love). It was a long day, and coming on the heels of my trip to Ireland, I was tired. I was relaxing in my hotel room, sipping my nightly glass of wine and chewing Skittles, when the lights flickered and went out.
What’s going on? I thought. It had been incredibly hot that day – over a hundred degrees, with a high chance of thunderstorms. My first thought was a lightning strike, but then I realized it wasn’t storming. Next, the ER doctor in me thought, I wonder if a car accident hit a local transformer – I hope everyone is ok. Finally, the worrier in me thought, Oh no, what if its terrorists, or the end of the world?
I sat on the plump, comfortable hotel bed in pitch darkness, trying to decide what to do and how upset I should be. I didn’t hear any sirens or screams to suggest something serious. The bed was cozy and the wine was the perfect temperature. I could still feel the Skittles in their open bag on the bedside table. The power is probably going to come back on any second, I thought, After a few minutes it was still dark, and I knew I needed to investigate. After all, if it was the end of the world, shouldn’t I call my daughters?
I gently pulled back the curtains to peer outside. Traffic was driving by on the highway in the distance, not frantic or desperate, but there was no light in the parking lot of my hotel or the one next door. The night seemed foggier than it had earlier and there was no moonlight. I realized that the chronic humming undercurrent of noise was gone and it was eerily silent, so I bravely opened the room door and peeked out into the hallway. The emergency lights were on all down the corridor and several other daring souls were visible. “They say the power is out in the whole city block,” my neighbor said.
Standing back in to my room, I considered the implications of that news. It meant it was probably not the end of the world. It could have been a terrorist attack, but more likely it was a simple power overload because everyone had been using air conditioners on high all day.
I crawled back in to the bed and said a prayer. Despite that, my exhausted brain started to worry – unreasonable, I know, and yet….. Is this it God? Because I am not ready! I was going to write a book! I’m going to visit my sister next month and
my patients are double booked on Tuesday!
And God said into my heart, “Girl, get your head together! Everyday could be your last; you already know that.”
I sighed in the quiet darkness, because, yes, I do know that. Between working in the ER and in my own family experience I’ve seen how life can change in an instant. Tomorrow has no guarantee; every day could be the last. If there are people I love, I need to make sure they know it. If there is someone I need to forgive – or be forgiven by – I need to talk to them now. In the whirlwind of our hectic lives, it’s easy to confuse priorities and lose track of what’s important. You’d think I could remember that simple lesson, but I am glad I got another reminder that night.
The next day, the sun was shining and the power was back on when I woke up. It was reported that a snake had crawled into the transformer and exploded it. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but what a great picture: the snake causing darkness and the Son bringing the light.
PS. Thanks to all those who took my survey – you gave me some great ideas.
And if you haven’t done it yet,
you can still participate as it will be open for a few more days.