Diary of a Girl who felt Abandoned by DTE
The Unexpected Event
The date was Wednesday, March 8, 2017, and it was a blustery and bleak day. It contained fierce winds and dreadful temperatures that we all felt and complained about as we wrapped our outerwear closer to our bodies and walked leaning against the wind. While we were working in the office the lights flickered throughout the room and the internet exited from my laptop several times. After tackling a weary and challenging afternoon I was not elated to hear the news that fell upon my ears when my cell phone rang. The Hubby was on the other line and dreadfully announced to my tired spirit, “We lost power.” Various thoughts approached me, even though I tried to turn them away with all of my remaining reserves of strength. How would I charge my phone? Oh, no I won’t be able to purchase ice cream? How will my family and I stay warm? What about the food in my fridge? Does this mean I will be attacked with another crippling winter cold? What about posting on Facebook and Instagram and checking all the statuses in the news feed? Were there enough batteries, flashlights, and candles in the home? The list of worries was getting longer and my heart began to ache. Once the evening began to settle I found myself faced with yet another challenge. I wasn’t feeling well at all, due to other health matters which lead me to Henry Ford Hospital Emergency room, where I spent over six hours waiting for treatment. However, that’s another story.
Withstanding the Trials While Practicing Patience
The next four days would be a test of trials and errors. The first morning of lost power saluted me with warm sunshine from my bedroom window, but the coldness greeted me with a bitter attitude. The Hubby lit the stove with a lighter in order to cook breakfast. The days took a toll on our budget as we purchased ready-to-go meals from nearby restaurants. Countless lessons were learned during this ordeal of dealing with the cold and darkness within my home without the benefits of heat and electricity. One of the most important lessons that held on to me like an unwanted magnet was to “Practice Patience.” From time to time I sat in someone’s car to charge my phone. I posted several rants on Facebook about how I was the Girl with a Diary and the Detroit Edison Company (DTE) abandoned me. Every time I heard the sound of a heavy truck I slowly walked to the window and peaked to hopefully view the sight of a DTE truck. I was hoping the utility company finally sent a rescue team to deliver this household from their loss of heat and other electric woes. However, I was wrong and disappointed more than once, because each time it was another truck driving down the street playing with my last thread of sanity. I was a displeased customer. At some point, I had to realize that this whole experience was a true awakening.
Dealing with the Emotions
Initially, I was frustrated and angry. Eventually, the emotions of distress evolved into feelings of gratitude. One night The Family and I ate dinner by candlelight without the background noise of technology. We actually had a heart full of conversations to share with each other. I discovered we shared the same last name, but came to realize that our opinions on many issues were recognizably different. Another night the children stayed with my mother-in-law and basked in electrical bliss. The Hubby and I were able to dine alone by using the candles from the night before. The absence of electricity was an opportunity for my world to slow down and for me to focus on being an average resident in my home. I stopped to appreciate the small aspects of my life. Next, I learned the importance of recognizing that I may have lost man made power, but my source of energy is provided by the SON, who is my Redeemer. I also learned that going forward I needed to express my appreciation for being able to live in a home that does have heat and electricity without an interruption of services. As one of my closest friend’s stated, “Yes, the struggle is real.” Well, at least for some of us, but thank God we have stable employment in this house to pay the bills. I thought about the Homeless who had to withstand the harsh elements of the cold every night; especially when shelters are full. I thought of sickly individuals who needed electricity to operate their oxygen or breathing machines when they didn’t have access to a generator. I thought about how I was investing a vast amount of time building my relationship with modern technology. However, I was paying less attention to the needs of my family. Believe me the fees were costly once I noticed my neglect. I had an opportunity to spend more time praying and meditating. An alert sounded and notified me to reevaluate my life. At my place of employment I service customers on a daily basis and wanted them to practice patience when I wasn’t able to complete the task as swiftly as they often wanted me to. Now I was the disgruntled customer with DTE. It was my appointed time to implement what I preached to others, “Practice Patience!”
Changing Your Perception Adds Value to Your Life
Four days without heat and electric services wasn’t an elaborate event by most standards, but it was an enlightening experience. The opportunity allowed me to view how I perceived myself at times and how I critiqued others in this society: self-centered. Many overcrowded hotels took advantage of this opportunity by raising hotel rates. Our block was the only victims on the entire street to lose power, while our neighbors enjoyed the warmth and light from their homes. It made me recognize how I advocate for my community, but ironically I don’t have a relationship with my own neighborhood. Not one individual knocked on the door and offered a loaf of bread, candle, a charged flashlight or a bowl of ice cream. During this moment I truly understood the meaning of Proverbs 18:24: “A man that that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” It showed me I have work to do.
I know there were thousands who faced trying times without power for over three days. Personally, it was a chance for me to recognize the value of practicing patience, giving gratitude, and expressing empathy is needed not only during times of a crisis, but each day of our lives.
(Many agencies provide assistance based on funding availability and an individual’s or family’s eligibility status)
Other Suggestions from the Hubby when dealing with future power outages. You can google the products listed below.
Look into purchasing a:
- battery operated heater
- cordless space heater
- battery powered outlet
- a portable battery pack
-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!