Dinner in the Dark

The power went out recently.  We responded to it like one usually would when it’s a mid-afternoon interruption—wandering into the lobby and wondering aloud a bit over what might have caused us to suddenly loose our electronic lifelines.  Assuming that it would probably come on any minute, I returned to my office and started to venture into some tasks and housekeeping I could do without the computer.

But it didn’t come back on.

It was getting dark as we closed up the office and our guests for the evening were gathering on the sidewalk outside.  A walk into the kitchen showed me that not everyone in the building was as hamstrung as I was in not having any electricity.  The gas appliances were still working and the residents on kitchen duty had flashlights in hand as they went about preparing dinner—after all, the power would probably come back on any minute.

But it didn’t.  The utility guys down the street told us they were waiting for a major part to get flown in.  It would be that way until morning.

Once or twice, I’ve wondered what we would do if something like this ever happened—and now I know.

Without awaiting any executive conferences and decision, the staff and residents got ready for the 200 community members in need who join us for dinner every evening.  The generator someone found in maintenance didn’t start up right away so there was a brief experiment with opening up all the window shades to light the dining room with headlights of cars parked outside.  They finally got it running (phew) and were able to light the room (albeit dimly) with a few temporary lights.  Any and all residents were on hand and they used every flashlight, glow stick, and even the occasional cell phone screen to help our guests through dinner, showers and to bed.

It was peaceful.  It was remarkable.  No chaos or stumbling about—people working together and guests enjoying the novelty of the evening.  It so clearly demonstrated the heart of our work and the passion this team has to extend God’s love and grace to people in need.  Nothing comes in the way of that; it doesn’t get put on hold because of little thing like not having electricity in the building.

It leaves me so proud of our team (thanks, Kevin and Rick) and so moved to be a part of it.  Thanks for being a part of making this possible.

Rolf Geyling