Original Oil, “Jesus Calming the Storm.”
As Doug and I were sitting together in the backyard last evening, there was a strong wind in the trees. I have always loved hearing leaves rustle in the wind. It is one of my favorite sounds. I think it sounds like a soft whisper from God.
Sitting there last night, I couldn’t help but remember all of the times as a small child that I had sat by my bedroom window on the second floor of our century old farm house and watch storms.
My bedroom window faced east and right in the center of our yard was the yard light. A yard light is a very powerful large light that is perched on top of a tall telephone pole. It illuminates the entire farm yard. I can remember daytime storms so deep, furious and dark that their blackness would trigger that old trusty yard light to come on. Sometimes that yard light would illuminate a gentle shower of crystals that sparkled as they fell from the heavens. At other times it would only serve to heighten the terror of a truly evil tempest by outlining sinister shadows that danced between lightening strikes.
Whether it stormed during the day or night, there was always enough light provided by the sun or that yard light for me to enjoy watching the trees being wildly whipped back and forth in the wind.
As I grew older I was no longer content to just watch storms from my bedroom window, so began racing storms on my horse Beauty–an Arabian/Pinto mare. When I would spy a storm on the western horizon, I would saddle up Beauty and we would trot out on the field road to meet it. Once there, we would watch the storm as it kicked up dust across our neighbor’s farm fields as it rumbled closer.
Beauty’s ears would twitch as we faced into the oncoming storm. Then, she’d begin to stomp her feet and snicker, as she primed herself up for the start of the race. As the rain sheets reached the line fence, I would pivot Beauty on her heels and we’d be off! She ran as if she had wings on her feet. As we bolted for the homestead the first gusts of wind seemed to push us faster. Then, we’d be drenched by cool rain when the storm inevitably caught up to us–just before we entered the thick tree grove that surrounded the farm.
When we entered the tree grove the storm miraculously vanished…it was a perfectly silent hush like you entered a holy place on the wings of a prayer…a cathedral of nature.
As we shot out of the woods on our way to the horse barn the storm again attacked! It whirled around us loudly crashing like two great symphony cymbals. The sound of Beauty’s hoof beats absorbed by the roar of thunder. The trees in the yard, impressed by our daring, bowed as we passed. All of us targets of the flashing lightening.
Yes, the stronger the thunderstorm the better I liked it. I greatly enjoy just watching the beauty of the clouds. Once the clouds merge and become a towering dark whirling mass, I love its unchallenged power, speed, roar and energy. What I don’t like is the damage that storms leave behind.
The damage a thunderstorm leaves behind is so much like the damage we experience from life’s storms. Thunderstorms like life’s storms can come upon us quickly and wreck havoc with a vengeance. Sometimes the damage just requires a little picking up and sometimes it’s devastating.
While we cannot always predict or escape a nasty storm– we can choose how we react to it. I believe that storms leave us with two choices. Either you become embittered and obsess about your losses or you can focus on the light that will appear after the storm passes.
Everyone who gets to be my age is a bit storm damaged. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe that it takes a bit of age to acquire wisdom. No one is born wise, wisdom is earned by surviving the rain and challenges of life’s storms.
So, what have I learned from enduring my share of storms including the loss of several babies, two bouts with cancer? I have learned that there is really no need to fear storms for they are a temporary phenomena. When caught in a storm and actively trying to escape the tempest, I choose to have faith in the coming light, because it is both bright and everlasting…just saying.