Sunday, August 30, 2015

What I noticed when the power went out

We've been lucky with some really beautiful weather, but we've definitely been in need of some rain.  That rain finally arrived, along with a windstorm, leaving many people throughout BC without power.  I was at work when the power went out and I realized just how much we rely on electricity.  As word came about more and more power outages throughout town and neighbouring cities, I was curious how people would react, especially as we became one of the only grocery stores that got power back.



What I noticed made me so happy.  We were extremely busy but all the customers I had the pleasure of helping were amazing.  When I had a brief second to glance at the long line forming at my till and winding around the corner, I noticed people being more willing to acknowledge and speak to each other; to say hello, laugh about how challenging it was to find a parking spot, and discuss how they're dealing with the lack of power.  It was so beautiful to see strangers connect.

Then, one couple paid for the groceries of the lady behind them.  A bit later a customer heard that another customer's mother-in-law is sick and gave him a gift card to get her flowers.  He decided to pay it forward by paying for the groceries of the gentlemen behind him.  I also saw customers having deep conversations then hugging before departing each other - it seemed as though they had been long time friends, but I was surprised to hear they had only just met in the line up.

Not only did everyone seem very friendly despite the slight chaos, but I was also happy to hear how people have been spending their weekends.  Normally when I ask "how's your weekend going so far?" or "how has your day been?" I get answers that have to do with being stressed and busy.  But this time I heard about families and friends getting together to eat meals by candle light, or spending hours playing board games.  Many people smiled and said they "could use a little more power" but that things were okay.

It made me wonder if noticing these moments can help us all learn and grow.  Maybe we needed something to remind us that life isn't all about charging our phones, checking Facebook, or catching up on our favourite TV series.  We don't need to lose electricity in order to slow our lives down a bit or to encourage us to speak with strangers.  And we certainly don't need to have electricity in order to spend time with the people we love and care about.

I completely understand that this time is stressful for many people and I know that it's especially challenging for people that have to deal with things such as damage to there home or car.  I don't want us to forget that.  I just want to point out the beauty I've noticed amidst chaos.  It's hard to see at first, but when you look really close it can be found and can leave us feeling so alive.


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