Jan 14 6 Comments

How an expensive power bill can make you thankful for healthy legs

There is a photo that has been haunting me all day.

Another haunting thing is the huge power bill we got yesterday.

This has been the most expensive power-month in the history of Norway. It has never been more expensive—ever, ever. The reason: It has been very, very cold, and the power companies accidentally sold a lot of electricity to Germany and other countries last summer. Now there is not enough for us. They claim they forgot that we would have a winter. The consequence for me: We got the most expensive power bill in the history of Gumaers. 939 USD to be exact. 5500 NKr to be exact. And that was with no heaters on at night and hardly none during the day. Must be the showers every other day. (Is this too much personal information? Sorry. I shower after every workout, just to get that straight. Some times that is every day. Over-sharing? Over-sharing.)

I had a “my-body-suddenly-feel-numb”-moment. That is a lot of money that I rather spend on other stuff. Or rather: That is a lot of money that I have to find somewhere. I thought a lot about eating bread and butter and drinking water for a month.

Until I got this picture in my inbox today:

These are people who are in hiding in the jungle of Burma right now. The rice they are eating is their only food and it was given to them by Partners. It doesn’t seem like a lot. But it is a lot when the alternative is no food at all.

It put things in perspective. It made the power bill seem small. What you see on this photo are people who have just fled from the Burma Army. And they are eating rice that Partners gave them. As far as I know, they are still hiding. Then there is the prosthetic. The man on the photo walks on: A piece of bamboo with a woven something and a big rock on the end. That is how he gets through the jungle with soldiers chasing him. The reason he lost his leg in the first place is of course because he stepped on a landmine the soldiers hid on the ground.

It’s an expensive power bill, but we can pay it. It’s an expensive power bill, but we have two healthy legs each. It’s an expensive power bill, but we have a bed to sleep in. It’s an expensive power bill, but we will have dinner every day. It’s an expensive power bill, but we have power. An expensive power bill is a small price to pay for the freedom of living in a country abundant with privileges such as the privilege of turning on a light when it is dark.


  • Arne Sylta says:

    Dear Odny and Steve.
    Thank-you, I am proud of you!
    Love you – John 10.10
    Arne Sylta

  • Greg says:

    Thanks Oddny for the great reminder and I guess for being so open and honest… 😉

  • maureen says:

    Thanks for reminding me what it truly is all about.

  • Barbara says:

    You always get to the heart of the matter. I read all your posts and never fail to be encouraged by your reflections. A bamboo leg with a rock……….do we all live on the same planet? Sometimes, well, often we need to see photos like this to remind us of what truly matters. Where do we want to spend our time, our energy, our money…..what really matters? Thank you for writing……..I mean REALLY……THANK YOU!

  • stevegumaer says:

    Reblogged this on Normal Is Over. and commented:
    What makes a financial problem feel trivial? Read this.

  • stevegumaer says:

    Good words to remind me what matters most. My problems are suddenly trivial.