It wasn’t a factor of the times but more of economics that I did not know what it was to have the convenience of electricity until I was a teenager. And even then it took some getting used to. There was a certain night that I happened to be changing my bed linin. As I fanned the spread to have it cover the bed, I recall how high it had flown, as if to the smother the bulb. Now transfer that scene to a “Home Sweet Home” kerosene lamp apparatus, and then you can appreciate my brief, yet intense, moment of anxiety… until I realized that a light bulb would take quite a bit more to put out or broken.
“Home Sweet Home” was what was written on some brands of kerosene lamp shades and was an integral part of most old-time Jamaican households. It became proverbial for what we all desired home to be, and is also iconic of those days when we didn’t have as much materially, but families were strong and communities united. Those were the days when the village raised the child. Those would also be the days of battery operated radios.
I remember when the radio was the only form of media entertainment that we had. All too well do I recall how sharp the radio sound when new batteries were put in, but how irritatingly frustrating it would become when the batteries were running low and you just couldn’t get the radio to be stationed properly. Constantly would you have to be turning the tuning nob – because no sooner than you “stationed the radio,” and it’s gone back to “frying” again.
How painfully similar were those days with the battery-operated radio to my Christianity today. I have New Batteries Days when I experience a deep spiritual renewing. It could be from a period of fasting and prayer, a rich Bible study, an evangelistic series, or a really high day in Church one Sabbath.
Then there are Low Batteries Days when it seems I can’t breathe a simple prayer that would go past the ceiling. I have no appetite for the Word, though out of a sense of fearful duty I rummage through a short reading – that’s providing the sense of duty is strong enough. I feel miserable, edgy, and so pressured. Sometimes this seems very extended, and try as I may I just can’t lock in on God; I can’t seem to gain a straight focus on Him; I can’t be “stationed.”
When these low-battery-days occur we must not think to give up. We mustn’t turn the “radio” off. Instead, seek new batteries. And when you go to the “store” and the “Attendant” seems to be around the back of the shop, call and… wait. Don’t leave without your new batteries.