Last Wednesday as inclement weather hit the Grand Rapids area, I heard the distinctive crackling sound of a power line breaking. I called Consumer’s Energy as I watched sparks dance between the trees across the street. The power in my house blinked off and on a few times before it was restored. Somehow, even though the power lines were down, I still had electricity.
Except for the modem for the internet. When I contacted my internet provider, I learned that the system was out for the entire neighborhood and that I would receive a text when it was restored. When the technicians came to replace the downed power lines, I was without power again. Four people worked hard through the blizzard to repair the power lines. They were successful after a couple of hours.
But by the next morning, I still had no internet. All those energy surges had fried my modem and it needed to be replaced. So, I had to use my phone as a hotspot to send and receive emails. It took longer than expected to open tabs on the internet and wait for them to load. And by longer than expected, I mean twenty or twenty-five seconds.
I am old enough to remember what the internet was like when one had to dial in to gain access to the worldwide web. Back then, it took several minutes to get online, and the connections were rarely stable. Navigating through websites took time as well. And just when you found the site you wanted, the connection slowed significantly or was lost.
Last week, I found myself feeling a little frustrated that I had to wait for the screen to change, or Outlook to notify me that an email had been sent. I had gotten so used to whatever speed my internet is, that even a delay of a few seconds was a new experience. My rhythm was off, and only for a day or so.
I realized that I have been moving quickly from one topic to the next. The power outage and the loss of the internet helped me to take a couple of unplanned breaks. None of the deadlines I had were missed, and the amount of time I lost was minimal. A few seconds here and there as I waited for documents to download and emails to be sent was all that passed. As I try to commit to spending fewer hours in front of the computer screen this year, those longer connection times were a reminder to just wait and breathe.
It’s alright to slow down and allow the process of how and what we communicate to take a few seconds or even a few minutes longer. We don’t need to work constantly. Instead of looking forward to the next thing, I believe it’s alright to sometimes pause between tasks. Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God” is a reminder to create a space and a place for our Lord’s presence to touch us during each day. May it be so. And Amen.