The wind has been blowing this week. I’ve found myself really enjoying these windy days. I don’t understand completely why I like the wind so much, but there is a feeling of calm or joy or both that always comes over me when I walk out into the wind–even very strong winds. The Earth is just moving. Even the lightest substances of our world are moving strongly enough to toss the trees around. You see the evidence of this invisible thing all around you, and you can feel it moving on your face and in your hair. You close your eyes for a moment and just let your other senses take over for a time. You don’t have to see right now.
I remember so many stories at this place where wind was a main character. In the summer of 2011, the staff shared several evenings of strong wind. During our Orientation week, there was an evening that got so windy, I could tell it was making some of our staff nervous. I was leading worship that evening, and I decided to put it outdoors, so we could see the power of God’s creation. I hoped to have a sort of worship where we shouted up to the heavens that really got people excited and moving–something that would be a springboard for spirit filled singing and sharing. The worship felt kind of flat to me. I was not able to get the right kind of excitement. The worship ended pretty quickly. In hindsight, it might have been better if I had led the group out, read a powerful verse, and then turn the worship over to the wind. When the trees are dancing all around you and the air is strong enough to be the loudest sound, it’s tough to come up with human words that are more compelling.
I remember walking with several staff members down to the waterfront on a very windy day. We walked onto the docks and let the waves bounce us around a little bit. The air was swirling, strong enough that the water of the river was being tossed like an ocean. We walked out to the edge of the dock, where if you position yourself just right, you feel as if you are just standing on top of the water, out in the middle of this flurry of sky and water. Far off in the distance, you could see flashes of heat lightening in the clouds that rumbled past from East to West. You looked up and down the river and could see different sections of dark clouds passing overhead. The water was a dark blue, white capping over the miles of water that stretched out in front of us. We were not sure how much longer we should stay out, but part of us wanted to stay and see every bit of it.
We have not had any days quite so windy this week. It is more of a breeze with occasional strong surges. But, I love these instances when there is very real evidence of something we can’t see. Obviously, there is something very spiritual in that. Our faith is based on things we do not see. But, there are these times when you are sure of it. When you or anyone around you cannot deny that something bigger is happening. Something we are not smart enough to explain adequately, but something that moves us. It makes us want to linger. To see and feel that thing longer.
Towards the end of the week, Vickie and I had a good laugh watching Jim from our office window. He had driven Gary’s vehicle and was bringing it back to the Lawson’s driveway. When he got out, he pressed a button on their keyless entry, presumably to lock the doors. Instead, Jim pressed the alarm button. The vehicle’s alarm begins sounding and lights start flashing. Jim tries to quickly fix the situation, but accidentally presses the alarm button on the keyless entry for Vickie’s car, which is also on the key ring. By the time Jim got it all figured out, both alarms were sounding, both lights were flashing, and the trunks had been open on both vehicles. Vickie and I laughed and laughed at the sight of Jim pushing buttons, jumping up and down, and the Lawson’s cars alarming in harmony.
As we finished up the week, a small pop-up storm appeared right over our heads and grew larger. It began as a blip on the radar, a little green dot, but got larger and turned from yellow to red. Before it was all over, we were getting hail. As our first retreat of United Methodist Women were leaving, this surprise of a storm came from nothing and dropped wind, water, and ice on us. A new UMW group would come the next day. Sometimes we know exactly what is coming and when it will arrive. Our doplar radar can sometimes let us know the minute it will start raining. It is good to be aware of these things. But, there will also be things we cannot see or predict with accuracy. Something will just seem to appear, and we may not understand, but we will be moved by it. We will hope to linger to have time with it a little longer. To be moved by the thing we breathe–the thing that gives us life.
Keep our weekend groups: The United Methodist Women, Boy Scouts, and Sarah Sharp (spelled without an “e”) and Shawn Schuring (pronounced Skur-ing).