“Be gentle little thunderstorm; the world is just not ready” ~ A.J Lawless
On summer days beside the sea, there is a gentle rhythm to life. The tempo is lazy, and the timbre is mellow and mild. But as the oppressive heat of mid-day reaches its peak, the horizon begins to blush a bluish-black. A storm is on its way in from the ocean.
As the temperature drops and the wind picks up, the beryl sea surrenders to dark green, and the waves begin a restless dance. The low rumbling of thunder becomes a foreboding growl as the storm spreads its black veil over the ocean and the hiss of lightning flashes an ominous wink.
Life beside the ocean is a gentle life, but a coastal storm is anything but. It is a discordant event; a jarring experience.
There are days that I crave a good thunderstorm…the oddly reassuring thunder, the electricity in the air and the tang of salt on the wind that announces the beginning of a story. Because stories are like storms, you can sense them in the atmosphere. And when the onslaught quiets, there is a lingering bouquet of rain in the air, a muted humidity and a haze of steam rising off blacktop that has chafed all day in the oppresive heat. You see, thunderstorms can be as productive as the sun.
There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, like a story after a storm. It is almost as if something is there, just beneath the surface of my comprehension, waiting for me to recognize it. I feel a bit of kinship in the restless nature of a summer storm because my soul is often impatient with itself. Revealed in measured layers, is a quiet discontent, a craving to throw myself into something extraordinary that I cannot yet name.
Humanity is, I suppose, restless by nature, and ambulant at heart. But what if, like the nature of a summer storm, a restless heart is not bad. What if it catalyzes a life lived that affects people like a clap of thunder. Suppose, for a moment, that it exists to engage hearts and minds with a breadth of vision and strength of conviction. Perhaps this longing is rooted in a relationship with the Creator. Maybe it is the very thing that pushes us forward, undaunted, toward the significant lives that were planned for us even as time began.
But many days, if I am to be honest, I feel small and invisible. Stretched-too-thin and all-used up. There are responsibilities and expectations that serve to suppress God-given desires and passions. And on most days, I am afraid. I clutch unnamed hopes and dreams to my chest because life is too hard and self-doubt is too heavy. But I cannot escape my mind, so maybe the gentle thunderstorm brewing within my soul is simply God telling my heart to catch up.
I want to be brave with my life. I long to live my story in the shadow of a creative God whose own spirit has dreams for me. Something deep within our souls is made for a story much bigger than our own. It is the story of a God still unknown to so many. And it is only in the light of the eternal story that we can reclaim the chapters so lovingly written for each of us.
And so perhaps, as life serves to build empathy from shame and grace from disappointment, I will live unbound by the stories of my life that someone else is telling. Because, as the temperature drops and the wind picks up, and as the beryl sea surrenders to dark green. As the waves begin a restless dance and the low rumbling of thunder becomes a foreboding growl. As the storm spreads its black veil over the ocean and a hiss of lightning flashes an ominous wink, just maybe God is taking pen in hand to write the rest of a glorious, shredded, pasted-back-together story. One in which no person, no moment in time, not even one whispered breath ever feels insignificant again.
“God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” ~ Ephesians 3:20-21 (MSG)