I hope this holiday season finds you and your family rich in health and happiness. Among the world’s many peoples, we Americans are truly blessed.
This year I have been thinking about one blessing we take for granted. From the start of our day until we close our eyes for sleep, and even during the night, we expect work to be performed at our command. Wash the dishes! Light this room! Dry my hair! Heat the house! A flick of the finger and the task is underway.
Electricity is truly a miracle.
The Industrial Revolution in the U.S. gained steam (pun!) only after the Civil War. The steam engine quickly transformed mining, manufacturing, and transportation. However, it was electricity in the home that transformed our everyday lives. The Edison Lighting Company first brought electric light to parts of Manhattan in 1882, but progress was slow. By 1925, still only half of American homes had electric power. Some rural areas were not electrified until the 1940’s.
Lighting was the first application of electricity in the home, but there soon followed an entire category of the labor-saving devices we call “appliances.” With the computer has come a new category, called “electronics.” Without power, these devices become instantly inert. And pretty much, so do we!
Our daily routines and activities depend on electricity. It brews our coffee, toasts our bread, even brushes our teeth! Loss of power for a short while is annoying; more than an hour or two and it’s a crisis. For hospitals and nursing homes, loss of power can be deadly.
Imagine waking up in the morning to no power and no idea when or if it will come on. Maybe a couple of hours in the afternoon, or a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Or it may not come on at all today. In much of the developing world, uncertain electricity is the norm.
So as you sit around your Thanksgiving table, take a moment to appreciate the blessing of electricity. It has helped you wash and iron your clothes, clean your house, cook your dinner, and now it lights your dining room, unless you’re dining by candlelight. Which is lovely, when it’s not the only choice.
As always, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, enjoying good company and good food together with the people who love you.