(A late response to today’s prompt.)
The first thing that comes to my mind when I see the word “storm” is a song.
In the eye of a hurricane
There is quiet
For just a moment
A yellow sky
(“Hurricane,” from “Hamilton”)
But the next thing I think of is just… life. A wild whirling alphabet of hashtags and talking points and tragedy, where there’s no right answer because no one’s in the right, and even trying not to play means you lose, because “silence is the tool of the oppressor.”
I am living in a world which may see the fall of the EU.
I am living in a world which may see the sentence “Donald Trump was elected president in 2016” appear in history books.
I am living in a world barraged by retweets asking for prayers, or justice, or hope, or all three, but it just seems numb.
I am living in a world where Pokemon is the only thing that has made this year bearable.
I am living in a world made bitter by broken promises.
I am living in a world where trying to stand for what’s right seems harder and harder, as the truth seems to slide farther and farther, and I am scared.
I am scared
I am scared
I am scared
It’s like a heartbeat, fear. Only fair, considering it’s designed to keep me alive, but at what cost? I am plagued by it- like a necklace that chains me to the floor.
So I carve out an eye in the hurricane. I drown out its winds with the noisy joy of social media and Buzzfeed articles and Youtube, but fear always pierces the clouds. And its attacks, when it’s not being thrown on my face by the light of the phone screen, are personal- drafting neglected responsibilities and overachiever tendencies to form one great big ball of anxiety. And I curl my knees closer to my chest, and pull up a blanket, and click another link.
Pascal was right- mankind will pursue distractions to the point of self-destruction if it means ignoring their place in the world. Or even the world itself.
And that brings me to another thought, an irony in all of this. Another direction I’d thought about taking this post.
I love thunderstorms. I really do. The noise, the flashes, the wind and rain- it’s just so dramatic. And even as I confess to a group of fellow link-clickers that I fear the world I have to live in, I enjoy the power of the literal storms when they come.
So what gives? Why can I be more scared of the World Wide Web than the spectacle outside my window?
I think the answer might come, at least in part, from a childhood memory.
I am no older than nine, lying in bed, listening to one of the few thunderstorms I’d witnessed as a kid. I see the lightning flash through my pink gingham curtains. I hear the thunder shortly after, and I think to myself, I know what I can do to make this less scary! I’ll imagine I’m with the disciples on the boat, when Jesus calmed the wind and waves.
And you know what? It worked. I still think of that when a thunderstorm happens, too. And maybe that’s what I need to do with the storm I’m traveling through now. Maybe I need to remember that the One who calmed the storms of the sea also calmed the storms of life.
And maybe, then, I won’t need to be in the eye of the hurricane. Maybe then I can sail out into the storm, knowing that I was born “for such a time as this.” Maybe then I can ignore the heartbeat.
God, give me the courage to find out.