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The Still in the Storm

Earlier in the week, I caught a glimpse of the lake as I walked to the bus stop, and I was shocked by what I saw. The water was livid and roiling – whitecaps as far as I could see, wave upon wave that, impatient, broke on top of each other before they even reached the shore. There was a storm on the surface of the water, even if there was no storm in the sky. It was awesome, in the old sense of the word, as in “full of awe,” and in this case, not a little fear.

I was particularly struck by the sight of this angry lake because it seemed so clear an echo of what I’ve found in my own soul in these early days of the year. I turn on the news and I can feel the waves starting to crash around my head. How can there be so much chaos in the world? Why is there so much to be afraid of right now? How will we ever again find order and calm? We can’t seem to even make it through a week without some new and terrifying wave rising up above us, threatening to drown us all.

Of course, I can turn the news off, and sometimes I do. I get up, say Mass, pray, eat breakfast with my husband, walk my dog, talk to parishioners, plan pancake suppers and Evensongs and vestry retreats, and all of this seems calm and peaceful – even bright with hope. But then I turn the corner, and there is that lake, churning again.

But if I am a woman of faith, even a little faith, then my job when I catch a glimpse of that angry water is to look also for the one who stills the storm. He is always there – not outside the turmoil, but right in the middle of it. Our Lord Jesus Christ is there, pouring pitchers of peace into the world, telling us not to be afraid. He is there in the prayers of the Church, in the prayers of all people who speak of justice and healing and reconciliation. He is there in the thousand tiny moments of compassion and kindness that thread through my week. He is there in the moments that are bright with hope and in the moments that are gray and frightening.

He is there in the silence, in the noise, in the storm.

He is always there. Thanks be to God.

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