Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Peace in the storm.....

While we were in South Carolina last week, almost everyone Nikki and I spoke to mentioned the rain we've had lately in Florida. With the horrible things happening in the mid-west, I was a bit surprised that folks were even aware that we'd been getting some rather viscious thunderstorms, but almost everyone mentioned them.

Now, I've grown to enjoy rain storms over my years of living; used to be that I hated them....the ruined plans for a day at the beach, or the knowledge that the kids and I would be stuck inside all day long instead of outside or at the community pool. Lately, I've remembered something about my childhood....I loved rainy Sunday's.

It was a memory I'd forgotten for some reason - perhaps the self-centeredness that emerges as we become teenagers or the horror of being housebound with energetic young children for too many hours during the hot, hazy days of summer in Florida. But, as I said, recently I remembered that I used to love storms.

One recent afternoon, after all the household and gardening chores were completed for the day and dinner was planned out for the evening, a storm rolled its way towards our little farmhouse. I stood on the front porch and watched it approach - being out here in the country with no houses or other buildings to obstruct the view, I can't help but be a bit in awe of nature's power on days like that one.

I remember that I got just a bit of a chill as I stood there; not a chill as if I were cold from the sudden drop in temperature that a front can bring with it, but a chill as I imagined little Eleanor Wilton perhaps standing just where I was and watching a storm come towards her across the endless fields. As I stood there, I had the weather channel on the T.V. just in case this storm brought a possibility of tornados with it, but little Eleanor would most likely not have had that advantage to lessen any trepidition she may have felt at this rolling evidence of the power of nature.

As the rain and thunder and lightening got closer, I walked inside the living room, shut and locked the ancient front door, turned the T.V. down to just loud enough to hear any "beep" of an impending warning and then picked up my book and curled up in my lazy boy and began to read. But instead of getting "into" the novel, I found myself thinking just a little bit more and suddenly, I recognized the peace I felt in that comfy chair, listening to the wind howling at the front door and the knowledge that I was safe and sound inside this solid house. It was a peace I'd felt on rainy Sunday afternoons as a little girl.

In particular, I have one memory of a rainy Ohio Sunday....we'd left the Massilon Baptist Temple where we attended church and taken a long leisurely drive out to Amish Country for some Trail Bologna and Cheese; this was always a treat for us when we could convince Mom and Dad to take us....! As we headed back home, the rains began...but snug in the back seat with the wonderful taste of the bologna and cheese and the then rare pleasure of a soft drink, I was content. I knew that once we'd arrived back home, we'd all just stay in the house warm and dry and that I could curl up by the window, in a comfy armchair and read until it was time to go back to evening service. It was a wonderful, secure feeling.

I'm many years past being a child safe in the home of my parents, but in this house, with its history of surviving hurricanes and tornados and termites and other forces of nature - with all three of my children safe at home for that brief moment and my husband upstairs watching a Nascar Race or some other sporting event - the sounds of my family's presence just barely heard over the competing sounds of the storm, I once again felt the peace of a rainy afternoon, snuggled up beside a window on which the water hitting it from the storm had a musical sound to it, with a good book and good memories.....I find I now love the rain once again and the temporary peace it can bring in the midst of a busy life.

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