Friday, 24 October 2014

I feel the winds of God today

My mom loved the wind. On a winter day, the chinook winds would rattle the panes of the windows in our big two story Dawson Creek house, set on a rise next to a big field at the edge of town. The wind would drive the snow across the field, creating massive snowdrifts that would block our driveway and the street that curved around our house.  “I love the wind,” she would say. “Maybe it’s from growing up on the prairies. But on a day like today, I feel like I could take on the world. I feel like I could do anything.”
Usually, I hate the wind. It unnerves me. I hate how it blows the leaves off the trees in autumn, just when they are at their peak of loveliness. I don’t care for the drifting snow that makes winter driving dangerous and creates bitter wind chills that make my daily walk painful and unpleasant.The spring wind that desiccates vegetation and fuels wildfires jangles my nerves. It reminds me of how powerless I am against the forces of nature. It frightens me.
Strong winds often come when there is a change in weather. Maybe it is really change that I don’t like.
Today as I walked the trails near my house, the winds were kicking up. The dry grasses rattled and the fallen leaves whipped by. The dog put her nose up to the wind, embracing the new scents the wind blew by. I too breathed deeply. The air smelled of fallen leaves and pungent cranberries. With the wind came a reminder of the change in the seasons and with that, the reminder of change in the seasons of my life. I have embraced every change that has come in my life so far but I’ll admit it. I don’t like the current changes. I don’t like those winds that have blown my kids away. The winds that have taken my parents. Those winds unnerve me. And today in particular with the news from Parliament Hill, the winds of change in our nation were unsettling.
But the wind also reminded me of the following hymn written by the Quaker teacher, Jessie Adams:
I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift,
Though heavy, oft with drenching spray, and torn with many a rift;
If hope but light the water’s crest, and Christ my bark will use,
I’ll seek the seas at His behest, and brave another cruise.
It is the wind of God that dries my vain regretful tears,
Until with braver thoughts shall rise the purer, brighter years;
If cast on shores of selfish ease or pleasure I should be;
Lord, let me feel Thy freshening breeze, and I’ll put back to sea.
If ever I forget Thy love and how that love was shown,
Lift high the blood red flag above; it bears Thy name alone.
Great pilot of my onward way, Thou wilt not let me drift;
I feel the winds of God today, today my sail I lift.

Music by Ralph Vaughn Williams

 Larry Ellis 

The winds of God. Not just the powerful destructive winds of nature. But also the freshening life affirming winds that lift our wings and give us flight. The winds my mother felt. The winds of hope that let us take on the world.