Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let there be light

In Genesis, we are told God said, “‘Let there be light’. And then there was light”
For some of us last week, it was not so simple.
After the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through Cincinnati leaving downed wires and trees in its path, close to 1 million households were left without electrical power --- for days.
No power.
No lights.
No refrigerators.
No computer.
And for some, no phones.
This literally hit us where we live.
All our modern conveniences were suddenly inconvenienced.
Looking back on the blackout, I had a light-bulb moment. Modern technology supposedly came about to keep us better connected and to help us get through our days. Somehow though, the opposite tends to be true. For example, on a normal evening in my house, I can be found working on my computer, my husband is hooked up to his laptop, and the kids are connected to either an I-pod or X-box game.
Where’s all that connectedness?
So it is that when the power goes off like it did last week, we are left with only one thing: each other.
“I’m so bored!” my youngest walked around muttering, only 3 hours after the electricity shut down. “What is there to do?”
My suggestion of doing homework on the porch in the last light of daylight was not met with a positive response.
But as the darkness of the evening hours arrived and the currents of electricity never did, we all found ourselves in our back room surrounded by open windows allowing the calmed night air to blow just enough breeze in to make the flames of the candles dance across the room. My older son brought out his guitar and played some songs for us.
I didn’t know he could play that well.
Soon, my younger son started talking about what causes the winds to stir up like they had just done.
Who knew he had learned all that?
Later, my husband was sharing how he got a call from a recruiter who was trying to lure him away from his current job. Then he mentioned he gets a call like that at least once a week.
I never knew that, either.
Over the next few days without electricity, I was not able to work on my computer, cook or wash. We had our moments of impatience and, like so many others, would have to throw out any semblance of food in our once cold refrigerator. But what I was able to do more than made up for what we lacked due to no electricity. Because what I was able to do was talk to people in my life that I hadn’t had the time --- or more correctly –taken the time to talk to in quite a while.
Maybe God sometimes takes away the conveniences we have come to know in order to teach us what we really need to know.
Sometimes He brings on the dark, to help us see the light.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

God Willing

Trying to stay as informed as possible during this election year, I was watching a town meeting. The first person stood up to speak. “If the Democrats can maintain control of the senate,” the woman began her question, “and Roe v. Wade is upheld--- God willing…”
I couldn’t even hear the rest of her question since the resounding noise of what she had said was echoing in my head: The phrase “God willing…” was being used in connection with abortion! As if anyone could possibly think that abortion was willed by our heavenly Father.
The debate is heating up again.
But has this debate ever not been in the forefront?
Once where I was teaching, one of my fifteen-year-old students announced to another, who announced to another, until it finally got back to me, that she was having an abortion the next week. I felt sick. I mourned for two lives lost –the unborn baby’s life and the innocence of the child who was pregnant and making this life-ending “choice” that would haunt her forever.
As a public school teacher, my hands were tied. I couldn’t offer any faith-based discussion to this child. All I could do was pray for her –for her baby. And I did.
The next week came as did the end of the school year.
Then the start of the next school year began.
That’s when I saw the girl in the hallway and noticed the ever-telling baby-bump.
I certainly can’t celebrate a young child making a choice to engage in activities a few months earlier that put her at that life changing moment of teenage pregnancy. But I can celebrate a choice to not kill a baby.
I don’t know what her plans were. And I make no pretense of the fact that statistics point to challenges for that unborn baby if this teenage mother decided against adoption. But that baby had already beaten the odds and was living.
I will continue to pray for that young girl and her baby –as well as all women who daily are told by our society that it’s their choice whether or not the baby they are carrying lives or dies.
And I will continue to pray that fewer women will be in the position of having to make this choice. And that some day it will not be a choice at all. One day, the right of killing an unborn child will be universally understood to be wrong.
God willing.