Out of Sight –
This past weekend I wrote about a tiny gray cat that has been hanging around the house. The last time I saw it was on Saturday. I had been putting food out for it hoping to convince it we meant no harm but unfortunately, the neighborhood dogs beat the kitten to the chow. It started raining yesterday afternoon and has been steady since then. Remnants of Hurricane Irma is giving us plenty of water and a bit of wind. My worry, however, is the kitten. Is it dry? Did a neighborhood dog get it? I haven’t seen it since the weekend and I have no idea where it is or what happened to it. So, I wait and see. Hopefully, it’s still hiding under the porch and will come out after the storm passes.
There are people in our lives like the kitten. A storm begins to batter them and they hide, afraid of its downpour and thunder. We long to help them, to show them kindness, to meet whatever needs we can if they would just come out of hiding. However, like the kitten, there are trust issues and perhaps they’ve been hurt before by people pretending to help or they’re used to people taking not giving. What do we do? We wait. If they come out of hiding during the storm we can cover them with acts of kindness. If they wait until after this is fine also. Kindness and love have no expiration date.
“You never know where the leaks are until it rains.” #BrianLoging
This morning I awoke to a downpour happening outside. It was raining so hard that when I took the dog out I stood under the overhang while telling him; “Go for it!” (I know, bad owner.)
In the back of our little farmhouse, there is a breezeway which connects to a pumphouse. At one it time did not have a roof. Somewhere, in the life of the house, an owner attempted to put a homemade roof over the breezeway and let’s just say it hasn’t held up. It can handle quick showers and light rain but heavy downpours and it leaks in certain spots. I know where most of the leaks are so I am sure not to put anything on the floor under that area so it won’t get wet.
The remodeling of our bathroom continues and this week the men delivered the tiles which they stacked in the breezeway. This morning I heard a splashing sound and looked out into the breezeway and all the boxes were wet from the passing storm. We called our remodel guy and he assured us it wasn’t a big deal which was a relief. However, this was only one part of our concern. There is a new, major, leak on the breezeway and we’re going to have to figure out what to do with this section of roof.
It’s a pain to be sure but if it had never rained we wouldn’t be aware of the problem. Now we have to figure out how to fix it. There are times and seasons of life when the rain pours into our lives revealing leaks and weak spots. Wisdom tells us we can be upset at the storm or see it as an opportunity to become more aware of ourselves, who we really are, the places which need attention and do something about it.
Its abnormally warm today. The wind is stiff, gray clouds threaten and tornado warnings abound. The question isn’t; “If it’s going to storm” but rather “when?” It’s coming the exact arrival time is just uncertain.
As I drove to a meeting today strong winds gusts rocked the truck, a few droplets of rain fell on the windshield but nothing more. I reflected on the impending but elusive front that’s forecasted and how life’s storms are similar. We know life can be difficult, seasons of hardships and challenges will shake the foundations of our worlds. The question isn’t “if” but “when.”
Living with uncertainty can be unsettling. We prefer predictability, to be prepared for what’s around the corner waiting to rock our world but it doesn’t often work that way. Acceptance of our powerlessness to know, guess, plan and plot the storm fronts that will move through our lives takes courage to face the unknown and the faith that every tumultuous season will pass.
Last Wednesday a major storm front rolled through the area. High winds, buckets of rain, and minor flooding followed in its wake. Finally, after an interminably long day of rough weather, the clouds began to break as I was leaving the office. The picture above was the sight which greeted me. It was beautiful, not just because of the golds, yellows and blue but also for what the sight meant; the storms had passed.
“Into every life a little rain must fall” and into our lives storms of pain, difficulty and heartache will move into. Sometimes they seem to last forever but this is an illusion. One day the sun will shine, the light will break through and we’ll be reminded nothing lasts forever.
Winter is coming, fast! Last week, Beth and I, brought in our tropical plants to keep them safe from winter’s breath and placed them on the front porch. We then put plastic sheeting around the interior of the porch to help keep it warmer. It worked and the plants made it through the first real cold snap. However, the next coming days are winter’s second wave of chilled air and the lows will be around 20 degrees.
We’ve also had several days with wind gusts up to 50 mph. As the wind assaulted our porch in plastic certain weaknesses in how we put it up were revealed. Today I fixed those areas, made them more secure.
As I worked on the small project I thought about life and the storms we face. They blow through, causing damage, making us a aware of our weakness and vulnerability. However, this doesn’t have to be negative and shameful.
In a way, I was thankful for the storms this past week so we could be better prepared for the next one. Perhaps wisdom can help us see life the same way?
The first blast of winter’s cold air is arriving this weekend. I can tell preparations for the weather front are in full swing because our house foyer looks like an arboretum.
I spent most of the day framing and installing a door and storm door for an outside breezeway attached to the workshop. I’d like to ensure it will be as warm as possible before winter arrives and decides to stay.
I had the framing done and was putting the storm door in place. As I positioned it I reflected on the blessing it would be to have an extra layer of protection for the storms of life. An extra security measure just in case. The door was perfectly placed when I remembered a tool which was laying on the work bench. I went to grab it and then heard a loud crash! I was only gone five seconds but knew immediately what the sound meant. I had positioned the storm door but had not secured it. A gust of wind had swept through the breezeway and knocked the door to the ground shattering the protective glass. Ugh!
At first I was frustrated with myself for being such a bone head! However, as the irritation dissipated I was reminded of the truth that life offers no guaranteed protections. Things and people we put our faith in will fail us. Disasters, trauma, troubles and difficulties blow into our worlds and send our securities and comforts crashing down all around us.
I picked up the broken glass, put the door back in place and even found another pane to replace the one which was shattered.
Similarly when we face the storms of life we know nothing is permanent, all is passing away. When our world crashes we pick up the broken pieces, keep pursuing our purpose and know that what once was may be lost but there will always be new life to find.
This morning a raging thunderstorm passed through the area bringing high winds, torrential rains and lots of lightning! Even though the sky was a bright shade of grey the flashes lit it up. Several times my eyes grew wide with wonder at the power and ferocity which was being displayed. In the midst of the downpour I was sitting at a traffic signal when another visual burst attracted my eye. It surprised me and as I whipped my head around I noticed it was only a strobe light on the top of a work truck.
The strobe light, though it startled me, didn’t invoke in me the awe the lightning had conjured within. It wasn’t nearly as bright, the predictable, rhythmic flashing wasn’t as inspiring and frightening as the streaks of energy and chaos which seemed to appear out of nowhere without advanced notice.
I reflected upon the two lights and the unpredictability of life. We like to think that a controlled, managed, structured existence is best. Certainly we wouldn’t allow pain, heartache, difficulties to strike without warning. We’d never be surprised by disappointment, disease and death. There would be a steady, fixed, consistent way of being but what would we lose?
Wisdom tells us it is in the unforeseeable, uncertain, unplanned parts of life when our eyes, heart and spirits are open to awe and wonder. It is in these times and seasons when we are inspired, strengthened and consider possibilities of which we’ve never dreamed.
It is the unexpectedness of life which lights up the soul. Don’t settle for a dim imitation.