Last night the winds were howling. This was no gentle evening breeze. It was frightening, ferocious...willing to tear up anything in its path. It roared 'round the house, literally ripping off soffits and siding as it went. I am not a fan of these ruthless, raging storms. Whether they're blowing specks of dust in my eyes or messing up my hair is beside the point. I don't like the fierceness and chaos and destruction that seems to ride on these tempests. Strong wind makes me feel like the universe is angry, reckless, and out-of-control.
This morning as I drove away from a friend's house, I noticed that a tree in the neighbor's yard was blown right over by last night's storm. A strong tree, with roots and branches. Yesterday it was standing tall, and now it's lying on the ground, with all of its branch tips stumbling over the gutter and into the street. Gone. Just like that.
As I looked at that broken tree, ravaged by last night's winds, I felt something start to snap inside me. That tree doesn't even belong to me, yet I was somehow hurt by its fall. And I was amazed by the unseen force that caused it to fall. Sometimes I forget how powerful winds can be.
Winds are everywhere around us figuratively, too. Unseen forces of destruction, leaving chaos and upheaval and sadness in their wake. Honestly, the winds rattling the windows last night are NOTHING compared to the storm that rattled our family last year. And we're one of the lucky ones -- we're still standing -- together, supported, loved.
With increasing frequency and intensity, the winds are breaking down will-power and leveling self-respect. They're bulldozing marriages, fracturing families. They're even rumbling through the stock market and turning mortgages upside-down...because everywhere the storm rises, integrity falls.
I felt myself want to cry out, like the disciples of old, "Master, carest thou not that we perish?"
And then I remembered the rest of the story:
"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
- Alma 26:6
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
- 1 Ne. 18: 21