Monday, November 18, 2013

Hidden Dangers

While our family lived in the bush of Zambia I was responsible for the infrastructure of a rather large compound. The compound contained a boarding school for around five hundred students, a hospital with a nurses teaching school. So, it was a large place with quite a few people depending on the utilities that I was responsible for. During the rains we would go days without public power and I would have to oversee the generator system that served the hospital, school and all of the residents.

After a rather long rainy season one of the street lights shorted out. As bad as that was every other light was without power as well. Remember the Christmas lights, one bulb burns out and the rest do not work. Well, that was the street light system. After two or three days of looking, which meant a ladder to each pole and checking every wire, I located the culprit. It was going to be an easy fix as the insulation was worn off a wire and shorted out.

With the ladder in place I climbed the twenty foot pole and set about cutting and splicing the wire. A worker by the name of Office, was holding the ladder. Now picture this, if you can, Office weighed about ninety pounds with wet clothes on. I weighed 2.5 times his weight, do the math.  I really don't remember how close I got to having the repair done. After a very unnerving and rather ominous sound everything went blank.

White ants had eaten through the utility pole and now I was riding it towards a waiting fence and the ground. As I was holding on to the ladder in a rather fast decent the last image was my friend Office, trying to hold the pole and the ladder up. I made a split second decision to get off the ladder just before it hit the ground. That move saved me from some certain pain from head to toe. After a successful roll I ended up with just a broken ankle.

One hidden failure left the people in the dark for a week or more. Once it was found and repaired, by someone else, the lights were on and people walked the dark red clay road in safety. The other hidden failure, wood eating ants, had longer lasting consequences. I had to hobble as the hospital had no fix for my ankle. The pole had to be replaced and I had to deal with a bunch of men who laughed at me and Office as they made motions of Office trying to hold up the pole with me at the top.

Some things in our lives we wish could be hidden forever, they can't and won't. There will be no secrets in the afterlife. Grace will cover the forgiven and their secret burdens will vanish.

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