A few afternoons ago, we had an electrical storm. The day outside darkened as the lightning and thunder rolled around us. The electricity was cut off. It was dark inside our house as well but total darkness hadn’t set in yet since it was still afternoon. We had about two hours left until it went pitch black.
We couldn’t do much of anything as there was no electricity and not enough light. The computer, television, electronic games, internet and even reading and writing and all the things we so heavily relied on in this technological age were out.
Sure we had the laptops, ipad and mobile phones that could run on battery but most weren’t fully charged. They would soon die too. We had candles and torches but were saving that for the pitch black that was coming.
By natural instinct, we gathered into the room that was the brightest. This was the front room with large windows facing the west. There was still enough light for me to do the only thing available to me and that was my knitting. I was knitting a very easy blanket so I could practically do it by feeling and needn’t see what I was doing. My children were on the floor playing some imaginary game with their toys. (My husband was still working but he was 20 kilometres away in another part of the city so there was probably electricity there.)
When there is nothing to preoccupy your mind, time actually slows down. I didn’t have to check emails, my social networks, type up my articles, do some blogging, read and comment on other blogs, cook dinner or clean the house. My children couldn’t do much else either. Those two hours before sunset were l-o-n-g! We couldn’t do anything else except to sit and enjoy each other’s company.
Just after sunset, we prayed the maghrib prayer. We drew our curtains and lighted the candles. The thunder had eased but it was still there with the occasional reminder. I stopped knitting and the children stopped playing. My husband was still not back yet.
Normally after maghrib we’d each read our own Qur’an. It was impossible to do that then as there was no light but, Alhamdulillah, all of our mobile devices had on them the Qur’an. So we sat in the semi-darkness and listened to the Qur’an being played on one of the iphones. (We had to conserve and use only one at a time.)
We listened to Qur’an for a long time then we sat and talked. This lasted for two hours until my husband came home. At this stage we were getting hungry. I suppose we could have eaten bread, canned tuna and fruit but my husband decided to try the restaurants. Alhamdulillah we found one that was open.
Going without electricity reminded me of the times that we joined Earth Hour. But for Earth Hour, you only have to go without electricity for one hour. One hour is nothing compared to the four that we went through.
Time seemed to stretch on forever. It was quite relaxing as we didn’t have to rush to do anything. There was no pressure pressing on our time. It was like a load off our shoulders. (My children actually asked afterwards if we could do that again soon.)
In our day to day life we are anxious to get things done but in our great rush we seem to get very little accomplished. We may be busy but in the end there is little to show for it. Could we be busy focusing on things that don’t matter much instead of on the important things like our relationships?
My challenge to you is to take the time to slow down. Disconnect your electronic devices for at least one hour, if not every week then every month, and if not every month then every year during Earth Hour. To not only save the Earth but to save your family, surely you can try to go for one hour without electricity to spend quality time with your family and reconnect.