Clouds. Every single one is different and beautiful in its own unique way. Their beauty is fleeting though; much like so many things in our life. Call it part of some scientific process or just another mysterious phenomenon we can’t explain completely with science, but the life of a cloud; either way, is not some ordinary moment. And either is a moment in ours.
I understand the scientific process that forms a cloud. And as much as I care about the global warming issue and do my share of what I can to be a good steward of our Earth, the the Christian in me is chalking the clouds up to be a God thing. But if you believe like I do, when anything is broken down to its origin, everything is a God thing.
When I was a kid, I would lay on the front lawn of my house on Phillip Drive and watch the puffy whites float by to figure out what they resembled. It seemed like a good way to pass the time. I would occasionally be distracted by a dandelion head that taunted me to blow its seeds into the air; even though my dad didn’t like dandelion seeds much being scattered into his Scott’s treated lawn. (Sorry, Dad. It was fun!) Dad always has a great lawn. Like a thick green carpet it was the perfect place to be a kid – and watch the clouds.
As a 1960’s-70’s girl laying around in the grass, I didn’t really care or think for that matter, why the clouds looked the way they did. Kids just accept that things are the way they are. Sunday school was a fact of life, so was regular school, and watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. My kid life was as regimented as it could get; including the baked or grilled chicken (depending on the weather), Rice A Roni, and peas every, EVERY Sunday. As I write this, I so wish I could go back to those days and savor the smells in the kitchen, take a chair next to my Dad at the grill while he sipped his drink and read the paper, listen more than I did at church and learned more from our required television viewing. Memories are priceless. They tell our story and shape us on our journey through life. These memories and experiences also prepare us for a journey that may not, probably will not, be all about laying in the grass and watching the clouds. The clouds tell a life story of light and dark, peace and faith that the sun still exists even when we can’t see it or maybe even feel it. Faith lets us know, without a doubt, that once the cloud passes by, the sunshine will return. Faith, and the paths we take in trust of faith help us to know that the sun is always there for another day. Even when everything in our life is in full blown chaos, darkness and storms, my faith tells me that the Son is always there. And where the Son is, I find hope.
Sunday drives in the country. Cows, barns and rolling hills. New York State apples, grapes and corn. B-O-R-I-N-G! Why did my dad find this a good way to spend his time and why were we my parents dragging us through it? My Dad loved to talk about the scenery, (The diatribes of my younger years started about here) while my Mom stayed mostly silent. I wonder now if she was enjoying the peace and the view or just the fact she was free from housework for a while. But now that I am a parent I can appreciate those moments – it was a version of laying in the lawn watching the clouds. I don’t have the lush green lawn of my childhood. My lawn belongs to four large dogs that produce and enormous amount of pee and poop. Laying in my lawn might have you feeling like you need a hazmat shower afterwards. But it doesn’t stop me from looking up and thinking about the bigger whole of the part that I am a piece of. It is here that I let my thoughts wander and my dreams dream about yesterdays and better days.
Growing up in Western New York with grandparents living at the Jersey shore, I had to endure summer road trips with the expectation of sitting in the rear of a Country Squire station wagon for 9 or more hours. I would always look forward to these trips. My grandparents homes were both loving and fun and we always had plenty of time at the beach. I half hated the endless hours having to sit in the car but I knew at the end of the journey was fun. My mother would usually fall asleep. My Dad was like most men trying to beat his last record speed of arrival even if it meant we nearly peed our pants. The only way to get him to stop was to get my brother to fart. Then we would wait…..”Who needs to go to the bathroom!” Haha! Thank GOD! Dad would find some Sunoco station and we would all race to go to find out that the toilet was a “oney” and someone was going to have to wait. Good times really.
I always sat behind my father on those long trips. Somehow it made me feel safe to be there. When we weren’t spreading the peace sign out the rear windows to get one in return , or one of us making monster faces at cars passing by and laughing at their reaction, I would lay with my head pressed up against the window and again find myself staring at the clouds. A God thing? Probably not then or so I thought. But I liked them and something always drew me to them. Daydreaming, and I was great at it, was easy to do when the sky spoke to my heart. It is here, with my eyes turned up and the rays of sun warming my face that I could let my dreams go wherever I wanted them to go. At times I would pray not to be disturbed because my dreamworld was far better than where I was at. Could it be possible that God was speaking to me even back then? He gave this Wednesday’s Child the ability to see the beauty in his clouds and it made me strong. Allowing me to dream has been a gift.
Life has been one turbulent storm after the next. Some of us get lucky and are born to stay in the sun, others of us find ourselves living in between the light and the dark. I have grown so accustomed to being in a storm that I have doubted if sunshine will ever stay for long. This is my enemy, trying to get under my skin and into my heart. Doubt gives way for weakness and when the foundation of faith is tested to the nth degree, the skies become dismal. The Son asks us to believe that every not so ordinary moment in our day has the promise of hope in the darkness, celebration in the light and trust that the son is with you even when all seems lost.
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalms 121:2