Several years ago, not long before we moved from our home at the beach, a series of rare late season storms made their lively way into our little beach town. In the early evening I had been sitting out on our front porch listening to the waves crash on the beach below and reflecting on the amazingly brilliant colors reflecting on the water as the sun set behind the clouds. Following a full evening’s activities, I let the dog out before “hitting the hay” and noticed what appeared to be lightening flashing out over the ocean. Growing up in the deep South meant that it was a pretty common occurrence going to bed with the stereophonic sounds of rain drops pounding on the window pain, punctuated by brilliant flashes of light and the resonating booms of thunder. Living in Southern California, this is not something I would call a frequent occurrence and so, I sat on the porch as the wind whipped the waves into frothy whitecaps and watched as brilliant ribbons of electrical lights danced off the dark surface of the ocean and the thunder boomed in the distance. As I climbed into into bed, and before the sandman carried me away to the land of slumber, I began to hear the rain falling on the elephant ears outside of my bedroom window. As the world faded away, I was strangely at peace hearing the rain and sensing the flashes of light that invaded the dark of the room. With a final flash and a distant boom, I was transported away to a place of restful dreams.
CRASH! BOOM! Bedroom windows rattled! Shiba howled which is extremely rare. Heck, she doesn’t even bark, so any noise from her is a good indication that something is troubling her. More flashes of light and rattling windows as I faded in and out of reality. “What’s Shiba doing on my bed?” I wondered while pushing her off and drifting back into that peaceful world of slumber. Then from down the hall a plaintive “I’m scared” was heard, followed by a thunderous crash and a more urgent “Daddy, I’m scared!”
The wind howled and the storm raged fierce outside. Lighting lit the bedroom like it was daylight and thunder reverberated around the heavens. I was a little boy again, fading in and out of dreamland! A loud BOOM caused me to open one eye (had to make sure the walls hadn’t fallen in) and it was then that I noticed that my bed was full with arms and legs intertwined with that big red furball that is Shiba (“hey…what’s she doing in the bed…she NEVER gets on the furniture, EVER?!). Our bed, our sanctum, had become the kind of defacto safe harbor during the storm and with the lightening flashing and the thunder crashing, the warmth and safety of daddy’s bed, wrapped up in daddy’s arms provided warmth, comfort and protection for a little boy and his dog.
I sometimes think that we humans are a lot like Paris was that night. When the storms of life crash around us giving cause for total insanity, we find ourselves looking for a place of safety, Most people I know, when confronted with a major storm in their life or even a little flash of light that causes temporary insanity look for that “safe harbor” that will provide warmth, comfort and protection until the dark of the night and the fury of the storm have passed. I have a hunch that this trait is common not just to modern day man, but could be traced back to the first man to walk the earth. We know from writings during antiquity, as well as stories told in the Bible, that during storms people got scared and looked for guidance, shelter and protection.
In the Biblical Gospels you can find an account of some of the followers of Jesus riding in a boat out on the Sea of Galilee when a big storm hit. Huge waves pounded their little boat. Lightning was striking all around them. Thunder caused even the bravest of these guys to quake in fear. And all the while their Teacher was sleeping on a cushion at the back of the boat. I have a feeling that some of them were pissed, because when they woke Him up (which they eventually did), they literally screamed
“don’t you care, we are about to go down and all drown.”
The Teacher looked at them and shook His head, then He spoke three simple words.
“Peace! Be Still!”
And with those words, where a storm had raged all around them was peace and calm.
In the middle of the night, when the lightning flashes all around! When the thunder booms! When the wind whips the trees! When the power goes out! It’s sort of nice to know that daddy’s big arms are there to pick us up and put us in his bed! And not only us, but those we really care about too! Paris needed to know that he was going to be all right and he needed to know that his dog would be too. I rather think Father God is like that! He lets us and our dog get into bed for the rest of the night!
Once safely ensconced in the safe harbor that was our bed, everyone slept even though the storm continued! And when we woke to a brilliant day, we woke up rested! Surrounded by each other! Surrounded by love! Bette Midler recorded a song a while back that came to mind as I thought about the night…
“God is watching us from a distance!”
I rather like the idea of being able to climb into daddy’s warm bed and into his big arms when the storms around us rage.