Three Days Later
Friday, September 1, 2017. Three days after The Day We Ran Away.
We have evacuated to stay with family forty miles north of the flooding and yet we are still feeling the effects of this massive storm. We have been without power since yesterday evening.
A rooster crows in the distance and is answered eagerly by another. To my left, the tangy pink sky welcomes the sun, sloth-like though it may be. Green grass shimmers with the dew of the dawn, God’s carpet over these rolling hills, soft hills, inviting me for a stroll or a nap, or to let my imagination go, free to roam.
I move and sway in this porch swing here, backwards and forwards, south to north and north to south. And it holds me, solid and sure. The hummingbirds flit and swirl at the feeders overhead with their fancy little wings, miniature helicopters with their meticulous maneuvering and tiny motors running.
Drops of water, dew collected from the night, drip off the roof’s edge, a rhythm that calms, soothes these nerves that tend toward stressing.
Here in this moment, I breathe deep the peace that the earth offers me as it awakens - God’s own hand opening, extending to me the gift of a new day.
The roosters on the farm in the east carry on in their excitement over the morning sun and the roof dribbles and the helicopter-birds buzz and the song of the earth is a melody I want to always remember.
It’s quiet here, away from the noise of the palm-held, social tracking device, away from the frantic screen scanning, the scrolling thumb, the sudden pause, the pinpointing of a moment in someone else’s life that silently lures me stop living mine. It’s quiet here because even miles away and a solid week after the storm first made landfall, it is still crippling towns, submerging substations, igniting blackouts across hundreds of miles of country.
But the sum of it all - this porch swing, this green carpeted farm, this grove of mayhaw trees in their dormant days, this stilling of the social rush and eyes that can see the earth’s awakening to the dawn - it invites a kind of quiet that’s necessary for me to hear with my heart, to understand this weighty silence that speaks to my soul.
And it’s holy here, where I can hold this moment wholly - no digital distractions, no demands of my devotion, nothing to hold in the hand, only something to hold with the heart. This peaceful green that surrounds, this calm rhythmic rise and fall of the earth - mother nature’s own way of breathing, this still way of worship - it revives me moment by moment, breath by breath. This detox from the digital.
And I wonder if that’s what it would take to cure this wounded world from the ache of a downcast heart. I wonder if the cure is found in the moments of curiosity, when we put the pixel-gods on pause and step out into the still to search, to listen, to just... be.
Because isn’t that what He said we should do in order to know? Doesn’t He say that to be assured of who He is in the first place, to perceive the power of the Exalted One, we must start with the stilling?
That verse in Psalms 46 that says it with no frill, no fuss, only ancient minimalism, “Be still and know that I am God…”
I have been running lately and now this jerk to a halt, this slam to a still, soothes away the stress of the mess I’ve been and spreads a balm on the sore spots in my soul.
I breathe deep, lungs filling full with it, heart collecting each fragment - the calm of this moment after the storm. It’s funny... how a world without power causes such a shift in the powers of my world.
This Harvey hurricane has taken so much. The people here are left empty handed, a lifetime of hard work, sweat, and saving. But we haven’t been left without our lives - my chest still rises and falls, breathing in this dew-dampened air of the morning, in rhythm with the earth here around me.
And so today, I will live.
With or without all the things we had accumulated before the storm struck. With or without my well done wardrobe and favorite shoes, my fancy sofa and my antique china cabinet, the photo albums from my childhood and the black, inky footprints of my children on those hospital papers from their birth days.
Because honestly, I still have the things of real value.
I still have the bouncy, curly girl and the strong-willed, wonder boy. And their daddy still lies beside me at night. No amount of collected relics can replace the living, breathing treasures of my world that will join me at the breakfast table in a few minutes.
And so today, I will live with real joy.
Because the genuine gems of my life are here with me.
Later, Steven will go see what became of our home in the midst of the underwater world that our town has become. A modern day Atlantis. But even if it is all gone and we must start all over, we are not empty handed.
Because with my hand in his, and theirs in ours, and all ours in His, we will overcome.
We will smile and laugh and dance and breathe deep the joy of the life that we still have and these little lives that are still here with us.