With Satan’s influence, which came into the world at the fall of man, God’s many blessings often seem to be mixed blessings. In Fiddler on the Roof, the words are sung that life is full of happiness and tears; and so it is. The Orientals refer to this situation as Yin and Yang. This understanding is even touched on by science, with the observation that every action has an equal and opposite REaction.
It is, perhaps, a flaw of my character that I see with sometimes uncomfortable clarity the apparent dichotomy of nearly all things in life. A former co-worker once told me that I always had a “but.” Not a “butt,” mind you, though mine is prodigious, but a “but.” Until then, I guess I never fully realized my tendency to see the bad in good things and the good in bad things, or my tendency to express it.
And so it is with the seasons, it seems to me. Good and bad walk hand in hand through the calendar. It’s easiest to see with winter and summer. The end of mosquitoes, flies and bird flu is countered by snow and cold. The season of growth and warmth is countered by bugs, droughts and heat waves. Spring and fall are judged a little less harshly by most of us, I believe. Autumn, with its vibrant colors, harvested crops, and generally mild weather is much loved, but we always know that it’s the harbinger of winter. Spring, too, is rather pleasant, as the cold of winter slowly transitions to the warmth of summer, bringing with it all the sounds, scents and sights of renewal. Yet it, too, gives hints of things to come.
Just yesterday, from among the scent of daffodils and the sound of birdsong, came the first serious rumble of thunder for quite a while. When I was a kid on the farm, I savored thunderstorms. Their noise and flashes of light were better than any light-show put on by man. I've even heard them called “God’s fireworks.” With time, though, my thoughts changed on those grand displays of nature’s power. Perhaps it started with losing the old walnut tree in the front lawn of my Civil War Era home. It had the best-tasting nuts of any tree around, but one gigantic blast from the heavens and it was a thing of the past. Then there were the neighbor’s barns that burned after lightning strikes, the roof nearly blasted off our outhouse, and the near microscopic strands of fishnet that had formerly been my mother’s clothesline. And there, high on a hill, exposed daily to nature’s worst, stood our home and our barn. Over the years, I've heard of entire herds of cattle killed by a single bolt of lightning, golfers killed on the fairway and farmers killed on their tractors. Thunderstorms gradually became something that I dreaded, rather than savored.
So yesterday, when I heard that first rumble of the season, I knew it was a sign of things to come. July may hold the title of having the most storms, for the Native Americans called July “the thunder moon.” Still, damage can result from any storm, so I did what I always do anymore at the first sign of a storm—I prayed. I prayed that the Lord would cause the storm to be harmless, and that no-one would lose their lives to its fury. I prayed that not only would the people be safe, but their homes, their barns, their livestock, their equipment, their pets and anything else they (and we) might have. I prayed also that our utilities wouldn't be interrupted. I even asked Him to protect the wild creatures and the trees. I don’t get nervous like our little dog, and I’m sure that in the great scheme of things, lightning serves a useful purpose. However, these days, I’m as happy to see it cease as I once was to see it start. I guess age can do that to you. © 2014