Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thoughts on the Great Texas Winter Blackout of 2021

The kindness of friends.

That's what's on my mind as I sit in the morning stillness, warm in a friend's home, listening to a bird chirp outside on this 21 degree winter morning.

Why am I here?

My home has been without power for going on 56 hours, two days with temperatures that never got close to the freezing mark and in fact hit -2 degree one night. Waking up in a house at 42 degrees with smartphone batteries dwindling was enough.

A friend took us in. A friend whose home had power and heat and wifi. A friend who probably would've driven over and dragged us out of our house had we not decided to bail when we did.

We got a hot meal, eight hours of warm sleep, and recharged batteries, both literally and figuratively.

It would be easy to talk about the material things we take for granted: a good night's sleep, a warm shower, decent food. True, I do feel like a fully charged battery this morning relative to last night when my power meter was in the single digits. (Coincidentally, a tweet in my feed this morning said something to the effect that no one needs to be told that they look like they're tired which is exactly what my friend said to me last night. I didn't mind and in fact took it as a reason to go to bed at 8pm.)

What we too often taken for granted are friends and simple human kindness and resilience.

I am inspired by our team at work, all of whom are dealing with some variation of my story. Their energy, positivity, initiative are the warm glow of our shared vision and mission. Not only are they taking care of their family and friends, they are squeezing in work as they can whenever the office has slice of power and the computers come back online. They are going to the office to assess its status and ensure its safety. They are taking initiative and doing what they can when they can.

I am warmed by friends who, while only connected by the tenuous thread of online media, reach out to check on and inspire each other. Friends who take the time to let you know that you're not alone and they are thinking about you. Friends who understand the unifying power of shared experience.

All people are talking about is power, power, power. Why did it go out? When is it coming back? The power that never left us and which remains undiminished is the power of the human spirit.

We've spent several days focusing on the bottom levels of Maslow's hierarchy. The kindness of friends raises us all to its heights.

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