Friday, September 6, 2013

Damaged In the Storms

We are often warned of impending storms along the Atlantic Costal areas of North America. It is one of those zones where weather can quickly gather itself into a real northeaster and blow the stuffing out of any area in its path. In my youth I saw pictures of the effects of hurricanes that wrought their devastation on coastal communities in Shelburne County and other parts of Nova Scotia. It is fascinating for sure to watch the coming clouds and a bit scary feel the fast changes in atmospheric pressure caused by the moving weather fronts. In our area people rush to the shorelines to watch the wave action turn from gentle swells to crashing surges of destruction as the power of the storm alters both geological and geographical markers. And then there are those who just venture too close and are injured or killed, not realizing the ferocity of nature at its worst.

I would like to think that we would all remain safe and out of harm’s way, during the storms. Of course, not all storms are due to atmospheric upheaval. There are those little things that just happen in life and are due to either circumstance beyond our control or on the other hand, are out of lack or watchfulness or just plain stupidity. Can you imagine the truth of some of the commercials we watch on TV these days? Insurance ads are sometimes the most curious, alarming and in the deepest sense of dark truth, funny to say the least. Picture; a man walks towards his car to go to work and a huge overhanging limb from a nearby tree drops directly on the vehicle and crushes it completely…. Scan over and upward… we see a man who has just cut the limb with a bow-saw, looking very stupid. Makes you glad you have insurance those days. Of course insurance companies and assurance companies bank on our fear of the unknown and what might happen to fleece us, while covering their cost of expenses  to cover payouts for  someone else’s mishaps. Ah the joy of the insurance schemes afoot in our society. But that is another digression… it happens a lot lately. Note to self… keep your eye on the ball. Ha!

It doesn’t take long as the storms arrive, for us to get the first news of real damages; the heartache of flooding, evacuations, loss of real-estate, and the cost of repairs and rebuilding mount to astronomical figures. For those in the midst of the trauma the reality is theirs, they lay claim to the disaster because for them it is now life, being lived, whether they wanted it this way or not. Physical disasters come in all forms, not just in high winds and torrential rains. The mental and physiological pain of storms in life can take its toll too!
Pan left or right…. Look up from the focus on trying to live with your own moments and see what is around you. It can be both enlightening and upsetting, but it is due to other storms that we have little or no control over in life. Each Sunday we have a time to mention the names of loved ones or acquaintances who we feel need prayer in their lives. In one small country Church family the number of names is outstanding… and then there are those in our midst… the hurting ones who are the victims of their own storms where wind and rain have no blame… it is the thing of life… the everyday news of someone else who health problems and may be facing the worst. Every day, perhaps because I am who I am people speak of their struggles and look to me for both consolation and more to the point prayer. The interesting part of all this is that they may not be people of prayer themselves, but they recognize that here is someone who must be connected and maybe, just maybe, they can connect on their behalf, for needs not faced and voiced in panic and fear. It can be an awesome responsibility and yet that is part of our response to storms… to be doers and not just hearers.

I guess not all storms are huge, like my friend ( we will call her Nellie) who has heard that she has bone cancer or the myriad of people who suddenly find themselves alone as their loved ones are snatched form their midst in death. Some are just the everyday garden variety of arthritic joints, the gastro reflux which has become so popular as we eat more, exercise less and go off the limits of good diets… maybe it is perhaps just, I don’t know… more chemicals in our foods that are causing upset tummies. Ah shoot… I am digressing… pinch me will you! We all suffer the small stuff in life. It may seem like a big thing while it is happening, but for the most part survival is not in question… it may just seem that way. For us here in the local household it has been a scary moment with a medical test and a recall for a closer analysis, a step into a deep hole that twisted an ankle and knee on the same leg, putting me in misery for over a month just trying to stand up, much less sleep at night. Oh by the way… all this at the same time… strange eh!... and the needs of others still remained constant… and the calls came in.

The doctors said; “All clear” for the medical and our hearts beat a little slower as calm swept in once more. Another said; “well if you were able to get up and walk and not feel the greatest extent of the pain for a week then the damage was minor… as in no broken bones, just stretched ligaments and muscles and that will heal eventually.” Again a deep sigh of relief. But the pain remains. It is part of the collateral damages that come with storms. Our hearts may ache due to the twinges of guilt for not having more faith; after all why do we get scared and upset when storms come? Can God not keep us through the storms of life? Lingering pain from injury can be damaging too, as we wonder why the miraculous does not seem to be a contemporary element which could immediately change the course of life daily. It seems that we echo the sentiments of those in Jesus’ time who cried; “Show us a sign Lord!” While there may be some argument today over the absence or presence of miracles, I am a firm believer that God is still that whom He has always been, a God of love, justice and creation (which of course includes His watchful care over that creation).

So today if you are suffering storm damages, you need not buy more insurance … just consider a bit more assurance. We are not alone, even when we feel we are. That is human nature at work and there is no need for guilt, otherwise our Savour’s agony in the garden is for not. When facing the storms, we go through the myriad of emotions and there is no way around it… we forge ahead and try to keep our hearts and heads intact. Look up today, if you are not one of the damaged… or even if you are. Who around you is one of the damaged ones, who may need a bit of your touch, the Master’s touch through you? Take a moment and walk even closer to the edge… it may surprise you what you will find there… a peace that the world knows not… it may be that you might need a new perspective while standing there. Blessed today I pray and take a moment to bless others.