Every once in awhile, we are lucky enough to witness those beautiful, awe-inspiring sights that are etched into our memories forever. Later, when our mind wanders, we are free to revisit the mental photograph, to give meaning to the image in our mind.
It feels strange being the tallest object around you. From where I stood, I could see for miles. Out in the distance, past the marsh and beyond the dry cracked wasteland, I watched the black clouds encroach and expand, absorbing the tiny outlines of distant trees in their shadow. The storm was rolling in, and I could feel an instinctual anxiety building in my bones.
My body told me to leave, to find shelter, but my eyes were transfixed. I had never seen anything like this before. I could see the grey wisps building at the horizon, growing and darkening as they drifted closer and closer.
As the storm approached, its massive body descending over the clearing, the sky was divided into two halves. The left half of the sky was a high and brilliant blue. It was cloudless, clear, and inviting. The right half was darkness– fear and shadow.
I stood, feeling smaller than I have ever felt. My miniature figure was dwarfed by the churning, black sky. As I watched, the clouds seemed to reach down towards the earth, as if they wanted something– needed something.
I felt primal fear. But also an overwhelming awe. Fingers from the heavens. Claws from the clouds. What had they come to take? What on Earth was powerful enough to stop them? This was a force of nature. Of God.
I Left. But even in the car, alone on the road, there was a lingering sense of vulnerability. The car rolled down the street, as the clouds rolled in above. The world was being covered in a black blanket. Moments later, the air was full of water and fury.
I know now what the clouds wanted, what they took.
They gathered up all the fear. They gathered all the bad, the stagnant and the dark, and they contained it in a tumultuous assault of wind and rain. What the clouds could not contain in the sky, they unleashed on the ground in an angry onslaught. Then the clouds took what was left of the pain, and the bad, and the evil– and they left…
They took the old, and they made it fresh. Without that storm, the wastelands would have remained cracked, the marsh would have dried, the air would have been stagnant, and life would have been stifled. Sometimes a storm is needed. Sometimes the fear, and the struggle, and the hurt are just God’s fingers, pulling out our pain, and gathering it to the sky.
The peace that comes after a storm is not possible without the violence.
Life is full of storms. Sometimes they will be necessary. Sometimes they will be big and seem impossible. Just remember, the stronger the storm, the more intense your peace will be after you weather it.
The Beautiful Storm