November 02, 2012 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
When hurricane Sandy hit the east coast this week millions of people lost power. As we have been hearing since Tuesday when the storm hit losing power can have wide effects on people from minor inconveniences such as not being able to use a hairdryer to major consequences such as when people need electricity for medical devices. One side effect that is new in the last fifteen years or so is that when people lose their electricity for an extended period of time, they also lose the ability to use their cell phones. Because many people no longer have land lines, losing the ability to charge and use one's cell phone means that one loses their connection with the larger world.
I heard a report on the radio this week of a woman in New York City who has been without power since Monday evening and so finally yesterday she walked thirty-eight blocks just to be able to charge her cell phone at her friend's apartment! I heard other stories of a post office that was allowing people to come and charge their phones and of a television station's mobile broadcasting truck that was offering free charging services for people who were willing to stand in long lines to recharge their phones. Both places experienced such high demand that they had to limit people to fifteen minutes of charging time.
There are probably many stories coming out of hurricane Sandy of far greater significance, but these stories of people helping one another recharge their cell phones were poignant for me because they illustrate some fundamental lessons when it comes to wellness and wholeness. The first lesson is that whenever we are going through any kind of storm in our lives we experience a universal longing to be able to stay connected with people we love. I doubt that people were going to great lengths to charge their phones in order play games or play with apps on their phones. I'm quite sure they were charging their phones so that they could reach out to friends or family members to let them know they were okay, and to receive the love and support of those friends or family members. Whatever kind of storm we may find ourselves experiencing--meteorological or otherwise--we all need to stay connected in order to help us get our feet back on the ground.
There are times when we are the person who has lost our power due to a storm, and at other times we are the person who is blessed to have power and are therefore able to share it with others. That is the second lesson from these stories of people helping one another recharge their cell phones. Perhaps you know someone who is going through a hard time right now, whose power is running a little low these days. When you take time to offer that person a caring word, a listening ear, a thoughtful note, or caring gesture, you are helpinging them to recharge their batteries.
Powerful storms of any type always bring stories of heartache and loss, and yet, at the same time, they always seem to bring stories of both small and large sacrifices that people make to help one another. Our wholeness and wellness depends on our being able to play both roles well, admitting when we are the person who has lost our power and realizing when we are the person who has power to share. We need to allow others to plug into our power when necessary, and to be able to ask for power from others when ours is running low. We don't have to live in an area devastated by an actual hurricane like Sandy in order to find people who are going through their own private storms, look around and you will most likely see someone you know who could use an energy boost from you. And let someone know if you are the one in need of such a boost. The world is a better place when we all take turns caring for each other!
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