The skies had been darkening. The dark gray clouds had accumulated and their appearance was ominous. The wind was picking up momentum causing the trees to bow with each gusting force. A storm was brewing. Every visual indicator was in place. We were in for an evening of Midwest thunder storms.
Then, the lighting flashed and the thunder resounded with such a roar that the window panes reverberated. I have to admit that I jumped just a little because of the suddenness of the cracking boom. The thunder came so swiftly that it startled me, even if the awareness that thunder would follow a lightning flash was completely expected. After all, Midwest and thunder storms are familiar to those of us who are native to the region.
My son, his wife and their children lived in Southern California for twelve years. Dallas and Meg were born and raised in Illinois. Lex and Artie were born in the LA area. Since returning home, baby number three, Arrow, has joined the family. Although the parents grew up familiar with how the thunder rolls, the two California-born boys never experienced the phenomena on the West Coast. But now – these boys are Midwesterners.
During their first summer of storms, the kids were fear-filled. The magnitude of the forces of nature, the lightning-strikes bolting across the skies, the rumbling sounds of rolling thunder, the pounding rains assailing the house: these were threatening to little guys’ ears. However, after several summers and numerous storms, their little souls have been acclimated. During this last storm, the boys and their parents were at my house and together we enjoyed the thunder as its portentous sound rolled across the skies.
Arrow has celebrated his first birthday, learned to walk, and is mastering the art of owning his world. He only uses a few real words but his babbling, finger-pointing, and numerous other forms of baby body language have well-trained all of the adults in his life to move when he summons. The night of the storm, Arrow wanted to see what was happening outside of the house. As obedient grandparents, we opened the front door. Three generations of us stood together under the shelter of our home while the thunder rolled.
An onlooker would have thought that we were watching fireworks. We would “ooh” and “ahh” at the lightening, count between the flash and the clap, and then thrill at the thunder. The little guys squealed and giggled and the older of us enjoyed the joyful exuberance of the children as they faced the threatening storm with the confidence that they were secure.
I remember being very young – only 3 to 4 years old – when my father was in a very serious automobile accident, which unleashed a terrible storm in our lives. Ominous reports of his injuries, darkening skies of the threat to his life, torrential rains of problems plummeted every spot in our worlds. But our home gave us shelter. When I say home, I mean grandparents, aunts, cousins, church family, friends, or persons who could give us a roof over our heads and a word of peace to our hearts. These were present to show us what true shelter means and to give us a proper perspective of the thunder storms of lives.
Our family weathered the storm. Dad recovered; the sound of the thunder roll was silenced; and the sunny days of life returned. Oh – life has brought other storms. From childhood to adulthood, from mom’s house to my house, from being a child to having a child – the storms of life continue to assail; but my shelter holds. As a young child, I learned that I could have peace in a storm. My grandchildren have learned that same lesson. My prayer is that you can also trust in a shelter that will provide peace when the thunder rolls. “O God; let your ears be open to my prayer. From the end of the earth will I send up my cry to you, when my heart is overcome: take me to the rock which is over-high for me. For you have been my secret place, and my high tower from those who made war on me. I will make your tent my resting-place forever: I will keep myself under the cover of your wings.” Psalms 61:1-4 (BBE)