Saturday, November 11, 2006

Elections and what darkness really means

This week was my favorite November holiday--Election Day! And as you might imagine, I am pretty happy. That said, there was no moment of blinding joy--I wasn't sure whether it was time to crack the champagne when CNN called the House for the Democrats, when the returns came in enough to guarantee the House or what, and the Senate was pending for a few days. And Chris Bell and Barbara Radnofsky did not win, so that was a bit of a downer on an otherwise good day, when Republicans in general got the smackdown. But it's beginning to sink in, slowly but surely.

I spent E-Night in Tegucigalpa and en route back to San Manuel I stopped by Charlie's site at Rio Negro. I thought my site was remote--and to be sure, it is--but his is something else. It's 300 people, and the only public transportation there comes in the form of riding in the back of a pickup truck for two and a half hours. He can get cell phone service with an antenna, but there is no electricity.

I once saw rural electrification on a top ten list of important technological advances of the 20th century, and I think we (er, I, at least) forget how big a deal it is that just whenever you want, bam, you have light, whenever you want. But let me tell you something: it is a really tremendously big deal. Until about 1920, I suppose everybody lived like this. But lately, we've lost touch with what it means to be "in the dark." As I was trying to manage with candles and flashlights, it made me think that for pre-electric populations, the Book of Common Prayer's frequent mention of the dark would have meant a lot more than it does to us:
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Oh yes indeed, electricity is a huge deal, and we'd better not forget it.

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Anonymous Linda said...

Yes. And notice that God's very first words are "Let there be light."

3:08 PM  

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