Earthy Wisdom: Storm
Showing Up in the Storm
This past weekend I was with Craig in Santa Ana, California, for a Simpson University conference. The plan was to fly back to Redding on Sunday night to spend Monday with Johanna and a friend who had driven down from Canada on Sunday, and then go home Tuesday. It sounded like such a doable plan!
However, upon arriving Sunday night in San Francisco for our connecting flight, we learned a storm in the mountains had cancelled all remaining flights to Redding. The next possible flight was in 24 hours.
At the customer service desk, the agents had a swarm of temporarily displaced people on their hands. A mother with a baby who needed medical care. A flock of people the airlines were going to put on a shuttle bus to Sacramento. An older woman with curly grey hair and a European accent.
The agents were calm and kind, treating each of us as if our situation and circumstances mattered. The curly haired woman slid a little bar of chocolate across to one of the agents, a middle-aged Latino man. He looked at her and said, softly and kindly, Now ma’am, none of that. Nope, … no tears. It’s going to be okay. I’m here to take care of you. My job is to make sure you are going to be okay. He slowly pushed the chocolate back towards her. You keep that. You go find yourself a little quiet corner and enjoy that chocolate.
Noah was also at the counter. As student body president at Simpson he had also attended the conference. It turned out that we know Noah—he went to White Rock Christian with our kids. In all his dealings with the people around him, he was calm, kind, and encouraging. When I suggested he try and get on the shuttle to Sacramento rather than wait 24 hours in the airport, he said, “No, they only have 14 seats. There’s more than 14 people. I don’t want to take one of their seats.”
“I am learning patience”, he said to me later while waiting for the airport to find our bags. He loves Jesus and wants to be like him.
Not wanting to miss our time with Jo, we decided to rent a car and take Noah with us. We reserved a car over the phone with Budget, but after another long line, there was no indicator of our reservation when we got to the counter. At that moment, Norm, the President of Simpson, and his wife, Allison, walked in. Seeing our plight, they rented a bigger car and took the three of us in.
We drove home through some torrential rain, arriving at 3:00 am. On the drive, I thought about the hurricane approaching Puerto Rico. The epic storm that had just hit Alaska. All the storms that await us as the climate crisis deepens. How little control we have over the powers of wind and rain.
Yet, we do have control over how we show up in the midst of the storm.
I witnessed humanity’s beauty: the calm, compassionate leadership of the agents. The vulnerability and generosity of the curly-haired woman. The fierce mama-bear protectiveness of the baby’s mom. The creative problem solving of those who arranged the shuttle. The general spirit of amiability in the crowd of people waiting. The servant-hearted nature of Noah. The generosity of Norm and Allison, who not only enlarged their rental car but treated us to an unexpected midnight burger feast. All unplanned moments of human warmth and connection. All these human beings, imaging God for one another. This is what we each had control over that night—how we showed up in the storm.
It reminded me of the old Matt Redman song from the weekend: “Whatever may pass and whatever lies before us, may we be singing when the evening comes.”
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We’re observing the Season of Creation over the Sundays leading to St Francis of Assisi day on Oct 2.
With readings in a liturgical pattern similar to that of Advent, the series follows a broad pattern of creation, alienation, passion and new creation, giving special attention to the story of the Earth, which complements the story of God and the story of humanity in the Scriptures.
Celebrating Kinship with Creation
Sun. Sep 25 ALL INCosmos Sunday
Sun. Oct 2St Francis Sunday
Blessing of the animals
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