Brother Power Failure! Thine arrival yesterday night did cloak us simultaneously in the darkest of darkness and the brightest of Light!

It was, indeed,a  profound darkness that fell upon the house when Sister Electricity churned to a surprising stop at approximately 7:45 pm, announcing her demise flamboyantly with a shock not to the eyes alone but also to the ears, which transitioned clumsily from processing the shuddering disengagement of the compressor that keeps our walk-in cooler cool to processing the tangible silence that fell after the compressor had gasped its temporary last. The sudden dark silence provided a fine opportunity to engage in the “what must it have been like to live here in 1919?” game.

Dark. It must have been dark. And still. Peaceful. Conducive to contemplation, mindfulness, prayer. Transcendent of material cares. It’s no surprise that the Capuchins chose this site – this beautiful, sacred, still site – for their House of Studies.

While a very dark darkness was the most immediately obvious feature of Brother Power Failure’s visit, an unexpected feature gently arose to drive out the darkness. A very bright and lovely Light subtly and gradually emerged from this darkness.

The bobbing of our various flashlights was lovely in the darkness, to be sure, but that literal light is not the lovely, gentle Light of which I speak! Rather, I speak of the lovely, gentle Light of community: we each sought out the other in this night’s darkness. We checked to make sure that all members of the household were safe; we checked to make sure that no one was without a flashlight; we checked to make sure that no one was alone in the darkness. Father Bob, Just Bob, Jan, Marge, Patrick, Sister Chronicler, Susie, and Tracy — all were quickly accounted for. All but Just Bob, who stepped outside and joined forces and experience with the maintenance staff at Marathon Cheese to speculate on the cause of the power failure, gathered in the front office to speculate on the best way of reporting our power failure to the power company without access either to the internet or the phone lines (so much for the battery backup that ostensibly powers our digital phone line in a power failure…) After several failed cellphone- or tablet-mediated attempts to report the power failure (the phone lines were busy [is anyone surprised?!] and the reporting system was down for planned maintenance [bad timing!]), those of us assembled for this crucial task of reporting the power failure gave up. The early birds among us went to prepare their respective nests for their night’s naps, while the night owls among us gathered in the living room with a fire in the fireplace and our various flashlights to illuminate a game of Uno.

As we assembled at the table for our game, the lights in the hallway sprang back to life. Hooray! was our first collective thought. Our next was this: “why not play Uno, anyway?” Why not, indeed?

And so we gathered as community, drawn together by concern (and maybe a little bit by fear), and held together by the ordinary joy of conversation, cards, and laughter.

Brother Power Failure, we thank thee for bringing Sister Light into a light-less night, reminding us of the Light we bring to others in our communal gathering!

Deo Gratias!