Some of our greatest family memories were when we faced unexpected difficulties. Observing how people react (and over-react) to the severe/winter weather brings those memories back to the forefront of my mind.
In the mid-1990’s Hurricane Fran hit the Raleigh-area with a vengeance. We were without power for about two weeks. We had no generator. We eventually ran out of water. The toilets eventually could not be flushed for lack of water. It was no fun. However, it brought our family closer together because the TV and other media were dead without power (and we did not have all the instant communication and smartphones we have today). It also forced us and our neighbors to come together and help each other. We shared chain saws, helped each other find more water, and cleaned up the destruction together. We became like a family very quickly as true community was forced by necessity. Once the power was restored, within a few weeks everyone was back to their self-centered existence and all the connections we established eventually evaporated.
I never wanted a power generator because first of all, it would only be needed maybe once every few years for lost power, and, also, I would spend more time maintaining it and keeping it ready for use than actually using it. Also, in our scurrying about before a winter storm or other event, we never consider what we are giving away as compared to what we are gaining when we go all out to prevent our family a tiny amount of inconvenience and hardship.
Certainly our safety is important, but being prepared can easily turn into hoarding and a false sense of security. Sometimes the best thing our family can experience is an interruption of our typical busyness and disconnected state and be forced to embrace a deeper level of community and unity. Unfortunately, difficult experiences are usually the best teacher.
My kids are almost grown and out of the household now, but if I had it to do all over again I think I would have had more planned power outages! The benefits far outweigh the costs! (If you don’t like that idea, then try a family camping trip with tents and no smartphones. Something unexpected always happens and you are forced to work together.)
My parent’s generation experienced a much stronger family identity than we often do now. They depended on one another for survival. But they had less comforts and less “stuff” than we do now. Sitting around the fireplace for warmth with a candle for light was not necessarily because of a weather event, but was often a way of life. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more of some things is less of what we really need.
God will take care of you and your family, even when you think you do not have enough bread and milk to make it through the night! And sometimes he even sets up situations out of our control so He can demonstrate his power, love, and concern for us. Allow Him an opportunity to work. Let go and let God!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4