electrical plugNever underestimate the power of a good connection.

A couple of weeks ago, the power went out in two of our rooms.  It was puzzling. Why, I wondered, would the power go out in only two rooms, and only to the wall sockets—and only some of the sockets, at that?  Yes, you probably know all about electrical circuits and how contractors always put sockets on a separate circuit from the lights.  You’re very smart that way.  Where were you when I was trying to figure all this out?

The mystery increased when the power suddenly came back on…then went off again…then came partially on…then went out again and took additional sockets with it, just for spite.  Short circuit?  Poltergeist?  Time to investigate.

Please remember that, while I have the heart of a handyman, I have the hands of a history teacher.  You may recall that I once tried to fix Cathy’s electric oven.  We were dating, and I was confident that I could wow her with my manlifixitosity.  I jiggled this, and wiggled that, and I did have a very primal kind of success—I made fire.

In an electric oven.

Not so good.

But hey, that was a long time ago, and I’ve learned a lot of…stuff…since then.  So, I decided to figure the problem out.  I jiggled this and wiggled that and generally looked for something loose or…wrong looking. (“Wrong looking” is a technical term, by the way.  Use it and people will think you are skilled.) Then I found it…a scorched outlet.  That must be the problem!


I mean, it looked like the problem.  It really should have been the problem.  But, after replacing the socket—six screws total…are you impressed?—I encountered a conundrum.

No juice.

A beautiful, well-installed socket, sans power.

I know, you’re thinking, “Circuit breaker!  Circuit Breaker!”

Of course I checked the circuit breaker.  In fact, I checked all of the circuit breakers, since whoever labeled my circuit breaker box used symbols from a magical land that only he has ever visited.  Nada.  Nadissimo.

I had done all I knew to do, and some things I didn’t.  It was time to call in the medium gun.  I would have called in the big guns, but the big guns are expensive.  The medium gun—my former-apprentice-electrician-while-working-his-way-through-college friend—works for the delight of my company.

And the fear of lifelong guilt if he doesn’t come over and I electrocute myself.

In any case, he inspected my work, pronounced it acceptable, and proceeded to not fix my problem.  Oh, he jiggled and wiggled with far more authority than I did, but with the same result.

No juice.

With a sigh, I caved and called in a real electrician with tools and wires and a truck and everything.  He came; he saw; he chuckled; he fixed.

Are you ready for the big anticlimax?

Circuit breaker.

But I had checked the circuit breaker!  Multiple times!  Honest!

It turns out, according to Mr. Electrician Man, that a little bit of dust or fluff or whatnot had gotten into the circuit breaker and was breaking the connection.  It looked good from the outside, but power couldn’t flow.  He smacked it, and all was well.


I hadn’t realized that I was in need of yet another humbling experience.  It seems that I was wrong.


All that power, blocked by a little bit of dust, dirt, earth—a little bit of the World, if you will. All that power running through the circuit breaker, which looked fine on the outside, but…

Chew on that for a minute.

So, when you consider your heart, when you think of the Holy Spirit moving in and through you, when you feel the things of the world getting in there and spoiling the connection, ask yourself this:

What’s your fluff?

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Test me, and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.

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