Two incidents in particular were the genesis for this blog. Both happened 5 or 6 years ago.

The first was at an evening meeting of nearly two hundred parents and children in a large, windowless upstairs room. It was nearly time for everything to begin and the room was full of people milling around. I was on the board of the group, but one who worked more behind the scenes.

I went downstairs for a last-minute preparation, had a short conversation with a pregnant mom and her children who were stepping into the elevator for the ride up, and then headed back up to the main room. Just as I got there, there was a loud pop and all the power immediately went out.

Ok, so the lights went out. We’ve all had it happen. But what happened next surprised me so much that I still wonder at it, over half a decade later.

Everyone froze. Instantly. Totally. A few children cried, but overall it was an immediate, eerie suspension of everything. Nobody moved, nobody spoke. It was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

I waited for someone to do something, say something. But nobody did. Everyone just waited in frozen silence.

I still couldn’t tell you why, except that it was obvious that someone needed to do something, but I spoke out, even though I am usually the quiet one in large groups. My voice felt like it echoed in the darkness.

I asked anyone with flashlights to get them, asked anyone who might have contact numbers for the pastor or administration of the church in which we were meeting to come to the front, asked someone to call 911 because I knew for a fact there was a pregnant woman in the elevator.

And people did it.

It was as if once I spoke, the spell was broken and people sprang into action. Many suddenly responded and took over. But I spent the rest of the night (and many of the days since then) wondering at that moment.

Why did everyone freeze? Why didn’t anyone do anything? Why did I? And why did they listen to a voice in the darkness when they couldn’t see who was even talking?

It was a glimpse into a mindset that I am still trying to understand, trying to encourage others to see. Maybe if people are more aware of it, it will have less power…..

Thus one reason for this blog.

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