Even though I have lived in Manhattan a few times over the course of my life, I had never experienced a blackout here. Saturday night was a first for me; sudden darkness everywhere, low power on my phone battery, concern over the location of my sons and the constant, wailing sirens that persisted throughout the hours without electricity. The time in darkness jolted me into the awareness of what I consistently take for granted. The experience was unsettling.
Although we didn’t know how long it would last in real time, the power went on again relatively quickly. Neither of my NYC based sons were trapped in subways or elevators. And it was an unforgettable experience of spontaneous joy to hear the anonymous, united roaring cheers rising from individual streets and whole neighborhoods when everything powered up.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I saw the clips of the performances. Outside Carnegie Hall and some Broadway theaters, actors and musicians offered impromptu song and dance for people those who were wandering through the area. Some of the observers were disappointed, having been asked to leave when the show they were attending inside could not go on. Others were just walking through, confused as we all were by the sudden, thorough intensity of the experience. But the singers sang, and the dancers danced, and the musicians accompanied them with freewheeling generosity.
It was beautiful. And maybe it was the relief that normalcy had been restored, or the gratitude that everyone was safe, or just the fact that I had gotten very little sleep the night before, but I found my eyes tearing up as I watched the posts. Because in some small way, isn’t that what we are all called to do? Defy the darkness and cheer the light?
Summer blessings as we continue to raise our voices together,