Lifestyle

Storm offers chance to log off, reconnect

Did you get it yet? I heard the question everywhere in the days following our windstorm. Friends and strangers compared notes about the progress toward connection to a functional power grid. What stories we had about the storm that blew through our town and region 10 days before Christmas!

We knew that restoring power would be a mammoth effort. How would we, along with countless neighbors and friends, manage through the darkest, coldest week of the year without power? A time of year that would normally be filled with holiday parties and manic shopping became one in which a hot cup of tea took on epic delight.

Something bigger than ourselves had brought us together. Strangers smiled at each other and laughed together. I flashed back 40 years to my childhood, a time when kids would knock on the neighbors’ doors and ask, “Can Peggy come out and play?” We would take off on our bikes, careful to be home in time for dinner. Neighbors would pop in on each other.

Nowadays, I schedule my son’s play dates. I would not dream of popping in on a friend. I often use email to schedule phone calls.

In the days without power, the connection constructed with the latest technology became tarnished. While I previously thought that I was just frantically keeping up with the business of modern life, my human need to connect had increasingly been met through computer screens that were now black and power-driven phones that were now silent.

I was in line at the QFC when I heard it again. “Did you get it yet?” Then I got it. Just as our connection to the power grid offers the energy that runs our lives, human connections power our souls and offer the fuel that drives successful lives, businesses and communities.

As workers from the power company worked to restore electrical connections, circumstances renewed human connections. A friend told me that a few hours into the power outage, the laptop batteries were depleted, leaving no way to conduct business from home. Instead, she and her husband shared candlelit dinners and wine before a roaring fire. Another friend shared that without the kids’ video games, the family played board games and laughed about disaster vacation stories.

You can get reconnected. Being connected means that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. Maybe it’s your marriage, your children, your work, friendships or religious community. It’s not always easy. Look at how hard the power company employees worked. But it’s worth it to have access to the power that offers the light of love and warmth of sharing.

Did you get it yet?

Vicki Rackner M.D. can be reached at www.Dr.Vicki.org.

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