Tag Archives: being 14

LSS: Waiting for the lights to come on

Sitting in the dark of our living room, with the lights and electricity out because of Thursday night’s humdinger of a storm, my 10-year-old daughter was freaked out by the lack of light and electricity.
Barely a hundred years ago, electricity was the exception and not the rule. In fact, by 1920 only 35 percent of homes had electricity. By 1956, 99 percent of American homes were wired to use electricity, which means the bulk of us have had lights at our beck and call throughout the duration of our lives. We take light and so much more of our day-to-day lives for such granted that we miss a major element of appreciation altogether.
Genuine gratitude is soul soothing and makes life at large so much more palatable — for everything from a refrigerator full of food to a song that makes you smile to a car that cranks to a phone that rings to a faucet that turns on and spews forth cold, fresh, clean water. By today’s standards, any of those amenities are considered basic necessities by most.
Sitting in the dark of our living room seemed to be a good place to continue the gratitude conversation my 14-year-old daughter and I had started earlier this week. I know 14 is tough, and I try to be fair, but there are times when 14-ness gets to a parent — and, lately, that parent has been me.
I think about the time when I was about her age. I recall enough of that time to remember believing that I was really proving something with my outward display of a near-constant state of frustration with the world. Of course, I generally reserved such an exhibition for my parents at home. I suppose I wanted to be certain they recognized just how little they knew and what a pain they were.
And, you know what they say about karma.
I’m still uncertain about just what it was I was blustering around about, but it was something significant in my mind. Like my own daughter today, I took light and so much more for granted.
Sitting in the dark made me think about all of this.
Lately, I’ve tried on several occasions to share with my daughter how much better life gets after the transition from living a tormented life full of anguish to one that’s more contented — and I’m unsure if that shift comes by choice or chance. Either way, something caused my realization and appreciation of the bounty of my world, and life was so much better afterwards. With that awareness, I also became conscious of other notions that made life much easier — the value of letting go of situations instead of trying to control them, the wisdom of forgiving those who had wronged me in reality or perception and the joy in attempting to do my part to make the world a better place every day.
Together, we continued sitting in the dark until the storm subsided, and the lights came back on.