Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When the Wind Blows


I enjoy sitting in my chair and listening to the wind blow outside my window.  Of course that presupposes that I am sitting safely in my chair and the wind is not really doing any damage.  When a big storm hits, that is not always a safe assumption.  It is one thing to notice a breeze.  It is another thing when the winds come with a storm.  We see those kinds of winds with heavy rainstorms and we also see them with heavy snowstorms.

A brisk wind reminds me of the power of nature.  The power of nature gets my attention.  In fact, when the wind becomes really powerful, it can be intimidating.  Not only do I sense that this wind is really potent, but sometimes I am moved to some fear.  Intimidation is experienced as some fear.  And even the good fear we call awe is such that we are kept on guard.

I have often noted that the classical languages of Hebrew, Greek and Latin have one word which can be translated “wind” or “spirit.”  So the wind is spirit.  And when we hear the heavy wind outside, we can smile and think that it is a very spirited day!  That is why I think sometimes when we have those kinds of winds, I feel closer to God.  If God is Spirit, then there is a lot of Spirit out there in those winds!

Winds---especially heavy winds---are not always a good thing.  Heavy winds can cause damage; often it is very significant damage.  It is not unusual to visit an area after high winds have blown through and witness the destruction the winds cause.  Trees will be down; sometimes electrical lines also go down and bring darkness and stillness to our normal world of lights and sounds.  I always figure the Amish must cope better with the damaging winds than most of us “English folks,” as the Amish call us!

I must admit that I like to go outside when the wind is very strong.  There is something exhilarating about having to brace oneself for the wind.  Sometimes I have the feeling that I am “taking on” nature when I do this.  Of course, I want to do this when I know or assume that I will not be unduly threatened.  However, I do recall a few times when I went into the wind and in the moment was not sure I could cope.  This must be how people feel in the presence of a hurricane or tremendous northeaster storm.

So it is one thing to go out into a windy day and play around with the wind.  It is another thing to ‘take on” the wind and not know for sure whether one can actually survive!  Danger adds significance to the experience.  Even the term, dangerous winds, has a foreboding sound to it. 

So what does this have to do with God?  I suggest it has more to do with God than the fancy word play of wind and spirit to which I have already alluded.  I understand God to be the creator of this world.  Having said that, I also confess I do not know in detail how God did the creating.  Personally I have to affirm some kind of perspective of evolution.  And I also do not think God’s creating is finished.  I believe the earth, the universe, me and you are still in process---a creative process.

I also do not see God as some kind of Figure standing outside of the creation.  Rather I see God as right in the middle of it all.  With this understanding, I imagine that when I go out into nature, I am simultaneously going out into the Divine Presence itself.  God is beyond me, but also very much around me and in me.  I can no more get out of this Divine Presence than I can decide to fly outside earth’s gravitational pull.

I can certainly be unaware of God’s Presence.  This is perhaps even easier than living in nature and paying no attention.  It makes me think of the person---sometimes the classic absent-minded professor---who is so out of it that he or she wears heavy suits or even coats on a hot day in the summer!  So it is very likely that many folks have no awareness of nature and, certainly, not of God.

Maybe that is why I like hearing the heavy wind outside my window.  It is a reminder of what always is true.  Nature is always “out there.”  And God is always out there, too.  A heavy wind simply draws my attention to the reality which always is.  And then one more point hit me.

Too often I live “inside” where nature barely is a factor.  And truly I realize, too often I am living “inside” my own cocoon of ignorance and ignoring to be aware of the Presence, the Power, and the Promise of the God who created me and wants to blow the Spirit so perfectly through me that I become the dream child God wants me to become.  Instead I am so typically trudging on with my own petty, unnatural ego-driven agenda that I resemble that absent-minded professor clunking through life.

My resolve is to sit and listen to the wind.  And then I am going to go out into the Spirit, breathe deeply and walk in that Spirit through the rest of the days of my life.

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