I could hear the wind miles before it arrived, its powerful arms careened across the field towards the cabin. I kept thinking it would go away. I wanted it to be like all the rest that had been billowing across the field that night, hitting the house and then dying down. Some creaky walls and whistling through the windows perhaps, but not the kind of wind that has fear on its back. Not the kind that feels as if it will be bad before it gets to you. Not the kind that makes you and your husband sit up straight in bed and start scrambling. The noise was deafening and it was still coming towards us. They always say that tornadoes sound like freight trains and that is exactly the sound that I was hearing. Dan peaked out the window (although without his glasses I don't know what he was seeing) and then yelled at me to get Zach and go downstairs to the basement.
At 3:45 a.m. on the Sunday after Christmas, I was not very clear in my head. But I did recognize the word "downstairs" as the fear settled inside me and jumped out of bed. As I got up, I could feel that wind pushing that house. This is not any house--it's a brand new log cabin that my mother-in-law and her husband built with logs that are about 2 foot in diameter. This thing is solid, people. But the feeling in the room as I gathered up Zach and some blankets was energy and movement, really like nothing that I have ever felt before. As we stumbled down the stairs, the noise was louder and louder. I yelled at my mother-in-law as I passed her room that we should go to the basement and kept on moving. Zach was so calm. For being pulled out of sleep like that, he followed directions and blindly kept moving. We settled on a bed in the cold, darkness of the basement to wait.
After about five minutes, it died down enough for us to feel safe again and we tripped up stairs towards our beds. Zach and I didn't go all the way up to the loft, but stayed on the couch. He felt comfort there, halfway between safety and the roof, but wanted me with him for awhile. When he slept, I snuck back to my bed and listened to the wind. Sleep wouldn't come, of course, not when adrenline has rushed through your body. Oddly enough at times like these, songs are the first thing that pop into my head. As I shook a bit in fright as strong winds continue to pelt the walls, the chorus from Amy Grant's How Can We See that Far played over and over again...
But like your daddy said
The same sun that melts the wax can harden clay
And the same rain that drowns the rat will grow the hay
And the mighty wind that knocks us down
If we lean into it
Will drive our fears away
Okay, so I always thought it weird that Amy wrote a lyric with the word rat in it, but the rest is excellent for thinking about on a windy night. This year has been intense. I can't describe the fears that I have been shouldering as I watch my mom fight cancer. In fact, the weeks prior to Christmas weren't great for me. Anger has been welling up at odd times and I guess I am beginning to go through some of the stages of grief. Our dog had been gravely ill over Christmas and I thought we would have to put him down, but drugs were starting to kick in the last few days and he is okay for now. I am taking a pay cut at work, and watching the fear on the faces of those around me as we look at poor sales figures and ponder the economy.
That mighty wind is knocking me down.
But leaning into the wind gives such an image, doesn't it? Last summer as we took the ferry home from Wisconsin to Michigan, Zach and I went to the top to check out the view. The ferry was cruising in at such a speed that Zach could lean forward and that wind would bolster him up. He looked like he was flying with his arms stretched out at his side and his jacket swinging around him. There was a big smile on his face and his laughter was tossed around me. Such a difference than when he would turn around and the wind was at his back, pushing him onto the floor. Such power. Such force.
Amazing that when we turn and face that wind head on, we are not knocked down. We are held up by the arms of the one who can careen across the field and sound like a freight train, yet who can also wrap us up in love the split second that we collapse in trust.
I'm choosing that option. May it drive those fears away.