When I was a child, at the first sign of the deep blue midday sky, my anxiety-ridden stomach would begin to churn. I knew what was coming but didn’t know the severity. Sometimes tornado sirens would wail in the background. Other times, we would just experience a run-of-the-mill summer storm.
After I moved to Florida at the age of 22, storms became a daily occurrence. They would last a short while, and while there was terrific lightning, few tornado warnings were part of the storm experience. Yet in the late summer and early fall, tropical storm and hurricane forecasts would fill the meteorologist’s report. In the 11 years I lived in the Tampa Bay area, I was fortunate that I not once experienced anything more than a tropical depression or light tropical storm.
The anticipatory anxiety is one of the worst experiences of any storm.
I have had trouble sleeping for a variety of reasons. But the major reason is Hurricane Dorian, which is likely to come too close to my house for comfort.
At this point, there’s not much that can be done. But we can pray.
For our friends in the southeast, there isn’t much we can do to fend off a storm. But the preparation process is crucial, and our prayers may settle souls.
Some storms are more metaphorical. Each day it feels as if more and more exceptions are declared regarding who can stay in our country. This week, one of the most heartbreaking declarations of deportations was announced: deporting sick children and adults.
At Gifts in Open Hands, Maren Tirabassi prays for the ill children about to be deported:
rest your hands and heart
on parents who have come here
with their children
to be treated for
cancer or cerebral palsy,
cystic fibrosis or HIV,
short bowel syndrome,
or during the long wait
for a transplant.
For this government
is taking the lullabies away,
and in this new and cruel
into Lose a Hope.
Our neighbors in the United Kingdom are facing their own storm. As our friend at A Pilgrim’s Process states at the beginning of her post “Chaos and coup and countryside calm”:
A curious day.
In the long-winded saga that is Brexit, there have been so many labyrinthine twists and turns that not even a scattering of breadcrumbs would be much use as a trail to find a helpful way out. Parliament has been in a three year grid-lock of opportunism, grandstanding, and has seen very little in the way of leadership and common sense.
She writes that after a gathering in a local pub discussing everything from the “spirituality of tattoos” to “some nods to the crisis” she “headed off back down the road in stunningly lovely early evening light.”
Our friend continues:
The beauty of the area I get to live in truly does, at times, stop me in my tracks and today was such a day. I pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, and took in the view of the sun beginning to make its way behind Tinto Hill. All was calm, quiet, and a tonic to the ongoing political chaos. I had no immediate place to be, so stood there in the moment, accepting that small gift of gentle grace.
At a time when various countries are seeing much political chaos, we are provided moments of serenity and Divine peace.
There are moments of brewing internal storms that each of us experiences on occasion. At Life in the Labyrinth, Michelle Henrichs notes that this will be her youngest child’s last year of high school.
The anticipatory whirlwind is on the horizon. Michelle states this
When you have kids you know in advance that they will eventually leave you. But it’s hard to believe the time is almost before me when hands-on parenting won’t be part of my daily life.
Yet Michelle continues to seek the peace in the present year and current season. She concludes with this:
May we love the season we are in now and anticipate with joy the next. For even in our going back we are actually beginning something new
In Mark 6, the disciples were on the lake in the midst of a windstorm. Even though they were distant from where Jesus was praying, we see Jesus coming to them on the water. This story reminds us that we are not far from God in the midst of our storms. God will approach us in our anxiety and calm the queasiness in our hearts.
Whether Dorian or deportations, Brexit or departing loved ones, God will join us in the midst of our storms.
The Rev. Michelle L. Torigian is the Senior Pastor of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Belleville, Illinois. Her essay “Always a Pastor, Never the Bride” was in the RevGalBlogPals book There’s a Woman in the Pulpit. She also has chapters in the books Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy and A Child Laughs: Prayers for Justice and Hope. Torigian blogs at http://www.michelletorigian.com.
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