"Do now, do now, what you will wish to have done when your moment comes to die." [St. Angela Merici]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hailstones and Hurts

By Micky Wolf

Many of us have been impacted in some way in recent years by weather extremes. From record breaking snowfall to Noah-era rainfalls, blistering heat and frigid cold, we have been enduring days [in some cases weeks and months] of digging out or drying out.

Seems it was our turn this past summer. Several days and nights of unusually heavy thunderstorms culminated with a nerve-rattling siege of high winds, gushing downpours, and quarter-size hail that literally left its mark—make that numerous dents, dings, and gouges—splayed all over the aluminum siding of our home.

Thankfully, amidst the destruction, there were no deaths or injuries. Still, it hurts. As responsible homeowners, we have invested a lot of sweat equity and financial resources in keeping things looking nice and in good working order. 

A few days later the insurance team arrived and for over two hours they crawled around on the roof and walked around the house, surveying the extent of the damage. We did our best to remain positive. They were thorough, gathering information and snapping photographs for documentation, all the while taking time to answer our questions and make sure we understood each step of the process.

Given all this happened at the height of the busy season for contractors and construction, it didn’t take long for us to realize we would need to be patient in awaiting our turn for various work crews to arrive. In the meantime, I have found myself reflecting on the similarities we experience in our ‘personal restorations’ and spiritual journeys.

Out of the blue, or not…

We were not blind-sided by the storm. Weather forecasters had been issuing alerts and warnings all afternoon, advising people to pay attention and take precautionary measures as necessary. Nonetheless, being aware and prepared that I might need to sprint to our basement any moment, given the very legitimate threat of tornadoes, I could do little else to ‘avoid’ what was about to happen. I was certainly not going to be able to sweep away the ominous black clouds or swirling winds simply by human effort. I could [and did] pray for the safety of others and myself.

It is a humbling moment when we realize we do not have much control over anything—nature, circumstances, or other people, for that matter. However, we do have responsibility for how we respond in any given situation. Will I make the choice to be proactive? Loving? Or will I allow the hurt and anger I feel in the midst of the unexpected and the unpleasant to spew on others? Or, maybe worse, allow the pain and suffering that accompanies being hurt or wounded become the foul-tasting ingredients for a sour stew of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness?

Sometimes we can see the things that are coming at us which may potentially be harmful, but more often than not, stuff happens—the critical remark from a spouse; the whispered, accusatory comment from a colleague; a snarky put-down from a kid on the playground. The list goes on and on. Like the hailstones, they ding and dent our sense of self as we try to navigate through life.

Up close…

Standing at the end of our driveway, a distance of about forty feet, the storm damage was not obvious. And that wasn’t the complete story. Not only did it make a difference where we stood and how close we were to the house, the time of day, the amount of light, and the angles of the shadows all affected what we could see and understand as to the extent of the damage. The key to sorting out what needed repaired or replaced required trained observers who knew how to interpret the signs. As far as our home was concerned, it was the insurance adjusters.

Likewise, how true with the wounding you and I experience. Some dings and dents to our spirit, mind, body and emotions are quite obvious to the naked eye, but God, first and foremost, is the One best equipped to determine the extent of our woundedness and how to respond.  If we will allow ourselves to trust Him, He will choose the best way, in His perfect time, to restore us to wholeness. In the process, He may work through the people who love and care for us—family, friends, spiritual community, health professionals—to be His arms and feet to deliver the necessary support and resources.


Not a day goes by as we pass by a wall, window, or door that we are not reminded of the affects of the hail and winds of those hours in July. The dings, dents, and gouges speak loudly, in silent witness, of what unfolded for us and for many others. Yet, we are at peace with knowing the work is to be completed before the winds of winter arrive.

Once the new roof and new vinyl siding are installed, it will be ‘as if it never happened’. However, we know better. There won’t be visible evidence of the storm’s destruction, but the memory of what happened will remain. It won’t be painful, but the imprint of the experience is now part of our family story.

So, too, it is, with your wounds and mine. As we trust God to heal and restore us, we can rest in the assurance He will attend to our hurting places. And in the process, He doesn’t expect us to forget how they occurred. All He desires is that we forgive, or ask for forgiveness, that we might be more fully healed.

The Master works, we work…

There’s no doubt the moment the crews arrive, our little plot of God’s creation is going to be enveloped in another kind of whirlwind—pounding, banging, and sawing—to say nothing of the noise, dust, and commotion that will occur as the aluminum siding is ripped from the walls to prepare them for the new. My beloved and I won’t be able to do much as the craftsmen with the knowledge and skills go about the job. Our part is simple—be available. They are the experts, not us.

The same is especially true as God goes about His business.The sooner we get out of the way, the better. This Master desires we have only one response as He knocks on the door of our hearts—to open our inmost being and allow Him entry. Thankfully, a little [or a lot] of noise and mess on our part will not deter His work.

How would I describe the hailstones of my life?

Do I carry some unhealed dents and dings?

What do I feel when I recall occasions of being wounded?  

1 comment:

  1. Just stopping by to say thank you for commenting on the WU post. A lovely blog you have here!