I got power back in my home yesterday. We lost power 10 days ago due to hurricane Sandy. Ten days.
There was a practical element to my not blogging during this time – not just no wifi access in the evenings to upload posts, but each step and turn of my life just took that much more time, effort and energy without basic infrastructure in place.
10 days without power was starting to take a toll on me and on my whole family. What was a bit fun, a bit silly, a bit romantic became a plodding reality without a clear end in sight. And suddenly our days required so much more effort, time, energy just to keep everything moving forward.
We are lucky. We had a comfortable place to go while my home had no power and temperatures dropped to freezing. My three kids had a warm place to sleep and safe water to drink. Lines were long but we were able to get gas for our car so the kids could get to school. But even so it was that much more work just to go about living our lives.
The core work of Acumen, where I work, is to support companies that provide basic goods and services – healthcare, water, housing, sanitation, education, and, yes, energy – to the half of the world’s population that hasn’t yet benefited from the global wealth creation and economic transformation that started in the 1850s.
The crazy thing to me is the idea that this work would be anything but mainstream. As a society and a world we have the capacity and the wealth and the know-how to build the underlying infrastructure that unleashes limitless human potential, energy, creativity. Think of all the people out there not blogging, not sharing, not contributing as they could to the world because every last ounce of energy must go into just getting by.
For just a week, New York and the whole eastern seaboard got to experience how every aspect of our lives are enabled by this infrastructure. We got to ask ourselves how resilient we would be if we lost this cushion. A spotlight was shone on all of the invisible things that make our lives possible.
Maybe, just maybe, this experience will help us to understand a bit more all the gifts that we have been given. Maybe it will help us recognize the mad lottery that we have won that allows us to take these things for granted. Maybe, once the dust has settled, once we’re warm and safe and dry but before we have fully gotten back into the rhythm of our days, it will push us to create more space for service in our lives.