Power and prayer

When in the space of a few seconds a gigantic swath of the eastern United States and Canada went dark on August 14, the interconnectedness of people and places once again showed itself in the telescoping of time and distance—and in the importance of helping one's neighbor practically, prayerfully.

Just minutes after the power grids failed shortly after 4 p.m., a member of our Boston staff learned from a caller nearly 3,000 miles away in Seattle that "you're supposed to be in a blackout!" It was news to him, bathed as he was in plentiful air conditioning and lighting, that 50 million people were unable to power up so much as a nightlight, some of them in his own state.

Soon another staffer cell-phoned from the airport, to say that her flight to the West Coast might be canceled—barely an hour had passed, but the terminals were already jammed as flights were in rapid succession delayed, diverted, and canceled. What had taken place at LaGuardia would be affecting people at LAX before dinnertime. "No man is an island" suddenly seemed truer than ever.

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September 8, 2003

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