Watching the Storm Come In
Last Thursday night, a big storm was headed our way. You could tell by the darkening of the sky even though it was only 4pm. The trees swayed harder and the smell of rain approaching filled the air. A storm was coming in. “Hurry up kids,” I yelled through the house. “Come to the front porch. Let’s watch the storm come in.”
My father in law was in town visiting. He looked at my like I had lost my mind. “You are going outside, now?” He said, “But, Taylor, there is a storm coming in.”
As a child, I learned to see the signs of a storm coming. My dad could feel it. He could see it and he taught me to see it coming too. The power and mystery of a storm intrigued him and he brought me into that world on our front porch swing. Covered by our porch, we would rock and stare into the sky. The clouds would begin to move faster, the sky turn to a darker shade of grey, and faint thunder could be heard along with rain beginning to fall. There we would stay counting the seconds between the thunder and lightning gauging how far away the storm actually was. 4 miles. Lighting flash. Thunder boom. 3 miles. It’s closer and closer now. 2 miles. The rain would get heavier, the sky darker, the wind faster. And we would stay. 1 mile. Still swinging on our front porch. And here it is. The storm is finally here and here we remain in awe of the power, in awe of the harsh, scary beauty of a storm. Finally the lightning would get too close and the rain too hard and we would retreat inside to watch the rest by the window in the den.
I pulled my children out into the storm last Thursday night and it was beautiful. We sat under our large covered porch to see a familiar sight. Rain pelting down, trees swaying, lighting and thunder displaying their power. The children were enamored. We counted down the storm’s distance and remained together on our porch until it was right above us. And, there we stayed. Through the powerful rain, the rocking trees and even the thunder and lighting we stayed. We remained together for entirety of the storm until the peace of the sky was restored and the dark clouds parted. Light returned and at 5 pm, we felt like we had ventured through to another world and returned home.
What a gift that storm was to me. In that moment, I felt like God granted me a gift to connect my children to my dad and his love of nature. The storm of losing my dad has been the hardest storm to sit through. I don't want to remain in the sadness, remain in the memory of his loss, remain in the pain of the space left by his absence. But, memories of sitting on that porch swing remind me to be still, to watch the power of the storm do its work and to not run away. I know from every storm I've watched that no matter how powerful, how dark, how terrifying a storm is, it will end and the light will return. The clouds will part. The rain will stop. The sun will return. And, how appreciative I am when all that is calm and warm and peaceful surround me and my family on our front porch.