"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (1 John 4:18 NIV)

As I write this we have been disconnected from the electric grid for 4 ½ weeks now. On a routine inspection, the meter boxes that ran our home and the homes of seven of our neighbors were found to be a safety hazard and had to be taken down. It has been a long wait for the replacement parts to come in so the work can be done. My daughter lived in one of the other houses and has had to move back in with me. For the first week we were fortunate to have family take us in. When it became clear, however, that we weren’t getting back on the grid soon I bought a portable, gas-powered, generator so we could at least move back home.

The generator has been powering the refrigerator, fans, television, and computer but lacks the power to handle the stove, clothes dryer, AC, and hot water heater. The lights except for two lamps can’t be used either. It amazes me too how much gas it uses. I am making two trips a day to the gas station just to keep it going.

Through all of this, though, I have learned a few things, such as the following:

-- I would have made a lousy pioneer.
--The smell of gas makes me sick to my stomach. 
--You can meet a lot of interesting people at the laundromat. 
--Cold showers hurt at first but after a minute you get used to them. --
--Hot water gets dishes a lot cleaner than cold water does. 
--It gets dark awful early in the evening when you don’t have electric lights. 
--Cooking with just a hot plate and electric frying pan takes a lot of creativity.
--Flash lights work far better than candles do. 
--It is hard to change the oil on a generator without banging your knuckles loosening the bolt on the oil pan. 
--Summer heat is no fun with just a few fans to keep you cool.

Yet, people are good and kind especially when you are hurting.

More importantly I have learned that family is the most important thing in my life. The love they have blessed me with in this tough time has uplifted me and kept me going. I have learned that bad things happen to good people just as good things happen to bad people. The key is to take both the good and the bad and use it to become better, kinder, more compassionate, and more loving. I would like to say I did this all the way through the past month but the truth is I succeeded in doing so only some of the time. I am human, a work in progress, and God isn’t finished with me yet. Still, I can feel Him using this time to deepen my love.

When tough times come your way then do your best to face them with a smile. Do your best to learn and grow from them. Do your best to become better because of them. And always try to live your life free from fear and full of love.


Joseph J. Mazzella