The Fellowship Hall was clearing out. The last of the Trunk or Treaters and parents made their way to the doors where wind and rain awaited their arrival outdoors – dampening costumes, clothes and coats but not spirits. Weary but happy parishioners packed up what was left on the tables of treats and made their way home as well. Our 2nd Annual Trunk or Treat was a success.
Peter left by way of his usual exit- the back kitchen door. I double checked all the doors and lights as I made my way to the office. Type the Newsletter Notes, send them off to Karen, shut down the office and head for home by way of my parents.
The ‘Keag was still extremely high. “King tides” and winds will do that, especially if the wind is blowing in the right direction. The pelting sound of the steadier rain on my car helped me decide that my visit with my parents would be a short one. I was glad to be home where a lap blanket and a cup of tea helped take the chill off. But the sound of the rain and wind remained – the storm was still present, still building.
We knew the storm was coming. They told us it was coming; the meteorologists and news broadcasters, farmers and fishers, and The Almanac, all told us the storms are coming. Storms always do come this time of year. The change of the season is always ushered in by storms. Like the struggle of holding on and letting go: of what was, of what has always been – at least for ourselves if not the same for others. Storms like the hesitancy of welcoming and embracing the changes that are coming. The inevitable changes that we wrestle with and struggle with our whole lives.
Some storms we’ll weather better than others. Some we’ll ride out alone while others we’ll have companions in the boat guiding, helping, rowing, bailing.
The last friend to talk with Job is Elihu. He’s younger than Job and the other three and sounds like a combination of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. During their heated exchange, a thunderstorm is approaching. Job, lost in the storm of his own pain and suffering, never mentions the on-coming storm. But Elihu does – several times. Each time Elihu suggests that God approaches in the storm.
God speaks to Job in the midst of the storm- in the whirlwind: the howling wind and the pelting rain; the pain and the loss and the suffering. The Word God speaks is of Divine Power ordering the universe and all we know. It is a humbling, self-awareness raising lecture. God sets Job, and us, in his/our place. God is God and we are adam/adama (Hebrew = of earth or dust, earthlings). We are called to care for creation not run it or control it – we are part of it. None of us is above or exempt from the full human experience with all its joys and sorrows, celebrations and grievings, contentment and longings.
God speaks to reassure us that in all of life God is there: in the quiet and peaceful but especially in the Storm.
The 3rd verse and chorus of the song The Wood by the folk-rock band, Indigo Girls, expresses this so well:
Sometimes I ask to seek a closer look, skip to the final chapter of the book
and maybe steer us clear of some of the pain it took to get us where we are this far
But the question drowns in its futility and even I have gotta laugh at me
‘Cause no one gets to miss the storms of what will be, We’re just holdin’ on for the ride.
‘Cause The Wood is tired and The Wood is old. We’ll make it fine if the weather holds.
But if the weather holds we’ll have missed the point. That’s where I need to go.