Tuesday, August 10, 2010
summer of storms
It will forever go down in my memory as the summer of storms. We have had unbelievable amounts of rain, hail, the accompanying hail damage, and just these gray, cloudy, cool days that are not reminiscent of summer days and heat and sunburns and long evenings slipping into darkness while the warmth of the day carries you gently into the night while you sit outside sipping coffee with dear friends. Ah, summer evenings are some of my favorite things.
On Sunday we had our car broken into. We lost more than just money and credit cards in more ways than one. It was so violating, so frustrating, and I was left in tears. Why us? Why now? Couldn't they see the car seats in the car showing we had at least three children? The bucket seat showing one was a wee baby? My heart was heavy with the wrongness of it - and I was sick with losing a substantial amount of money (to me!) that I had been saving up.
Fast forward to last evening, we had another sudden hailstorm. All day, sunshine, blue sky, hot breezes wafting through the house - then just as we were cleaning up after supper, the clouds rolled in and the water dumped out of the sky. It was loud, it was sudden, but it was terribly, terribly exciting.
The water poured down, then hail the size of grapes was littering our backyard. The sound was deafening - then I realized our windows were all open, all over the house! Running, running, oh dear the laundry that's been sitting in front of the window is drenched and how is there still so much water pouring off of the blinds if the window is closed? Seriously looked like someone had turned on a tap and was just lettin' 'er pour!
Ah, then the hail piled everywhere - we ventured out the front door to see it all - stepping bare feet on cement that was still warm from the sun. So exciting! And just like storms in our lives, this storm brings people out. There were neighbors all up and down the street, out on their front steps like us, marveling in a bit of God's power (even if they aren't aware that's what they're doing). The family with the little girls across the street, there they are! Watching it all go down through their windows. We wave and say hello and smile and marvel at it all together. Storms bring people together. Storms bring people together. God knows what He's doing.
Amos slept in his swing the entire time - but Jacob clung to me like a little koala bear - Isaac was thrilled that it was raining and immediately ran outside to just get soaked. (this is one of Isaac's favorite things!) and Egan dons her coat, boots, and umbrella to just have a chance to use those accessories since she's all about sucking the marrow out of everything...
For some reason I always forget about the quiet and still period immediately following a storm, and my camera on my iPhone really cannot capture what it looks like. It's just that to me, you can really see things for what they ARE instead of what they are NOT - after a storm. The air, the color of the sky, the way the light captures things - it highlights everything! I look around outside and am breathless with how bright colors are - I get this feeling 'maybe this is how they REALLY look' - as if before, I was taking everything for granted, and so everything starts to fade and fuse into sameness - then maybe because of the darkness of the storm, once you have some new light you can see the colors more vividly. Simple textures become
b e a u t i f u l - !
(our little strawberries survived the hail! hooray!)
I thought to myself, perhaps everything is enhanced so greatly:
because of the fear of the storm you are ecstatic to be outside again?
because of the way the storm isolates you, you feel so grateful to not be forced inward indoors anymore?
because it was so loud and intrusive, now the quiet allows more of you to be open and able to see?
...and with that thought I was reminded of the storms in my life this summer of 2010. When Amos was growing in my belly and everything suddenly went awry in April at 31 weeks - it was as if I were heading into the deepest, darkest storm I had ever experienced. Torrents of rain poured over me, into my heart, clouding my vision, my head, soaking me and my resilience to the bone. I was pelted with biting hail and freezing sleet, floundering in the cold and dark and terrified that this was how life was just going to look from now on.
And now I am where I am today - so happy. So peaceful.
So G R A T E F U L.
With those words I heave a sigh of contentment. I now am beyond being fearful, sad, burdened or regretful. I rejoice in what God has given us - and venture out again. The colors of my life are more vivid, more alive, more beautiful than I would ever have noticed if I had not just come through that dark storm.
During the storm, just as they did yesterday, people came together - only this time it was just for us. For me. Our freezer was stocked with meals, Grandma came and sacrificed herself and her life for six solid weeks of storm. Dear friends came and cleaned my house. People just kept pouring themselves and their hearts out of their homes to come join us in ours - every day, every dark moment God provided me with someone to hold His lamp and help light my way in that flood. People came out of their comfortable boxes to cry, to talk, to embrace, to smile and wave, and to carry us and hold umbrellas for us and let us know they were there in more than just spirit. I tell you, God knows what He's doing!
And now, these storms have passed, and I can see with new, refreshed eyes where I am. I am so in love with my family, my beautiful children - and this beautiful, unbelievably wonderful baby man who, by his mere presence caused me to feel for the first time that I have a family. Before this I always felt to a certain extent like I was pretending, playing house, and wondering if I would ever feel like a real family. And with the arrival of our little special lovey - we were there. And this was even before we found out today that our insurance company covers stolen cash up to $500. For real. And can you believe the amount we lost was just shy of $500? Unbelievable. Thank you, Jesus.
After the storm, the clouds parted, and there we were. A real family, vividly colored, beautiful and beautifully strong, so incredibly blessed and we could see ourselves as we really were.
And everything is fresh, vivacious, alive, renewed, reborn, and with joy we raise our arms and witness the sun shining in - and oh my, it is glorious.