Today I woke up to very loud, strong winds. The leaves are not rustling, nor the branches creaking. They are hissing and moaning. Dirt flies through the air as easily as birds. There are no clouds in sight, not even a tiny, wispy little thing. Eyes, lips, and noses are dry, clothes are full of static, and cars are pushed around as you drive down the street. As some people would say, it is a very blistery day.
But is the wind really bad? What is the wind? Air moving about? The breath of some deity? Like the sunset, wind is full of symbolism and meaning. Can any person living truly live without breath? Our lungs wouldn’t inflate, our heart wouldn’t pump blood throughout our bodies. We would, quite simply, be dead.
Despite the cold harshness of a winter wind, or the humid, muggy blanket of a summer gust, wind is vital. It circulates oxygen, carries pollen spores for plants and trees, and, as a friend from high school once said, “It cleans everything.” In some places, a good, strong wind storm will blow all of the top layers of dust and grime, leaving things clean. However, in other places, particularly desserts, a strong wind storm brings the dust and leaves a thick layer of it over everything. Ever look at someone’s pool after a good dust storm? It’s a mess to clean up.
But what about that gentle breeze, the one that lightly stirs your hair or turns a field of grass into a soft, rolling sea? That caressing breeze, that comforting touch of coolness on your skin on a hot day? The one that carries the wonderful smell of baking bread from the house to the children playing outside? The soft wind that carries the laughter of families across the empty spaces? The warm wind at the ending of winter that brings such stirrings of hope that you know spring has come?
It is easy to forget the quiet, gentle breeze when the tornado is ripping your home apart. There’s a passage in the Bible that speaks about finding God. Again and again, God is looked for in the peal of thunder, the flash of lightning, the roar of a firestorm. But in the end, He is found in the soft whisper of a gentle breeze. Too often we look for answer in the big things, the grandiose explanations. Why did the chicken cross the road? To create a philosophical quandary, or to simply get to the grain on the other side? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why does it matter, both are here. Or perhaps this: What is the meaning of life? That is a question that has hounded thinkers throughout history. What are we supposed to do with our lives, our talents? Change the world of course. It’s a rather simple answer, but means so much more. Deciding to become a teacher changes the world. Deciding to spend your life in quiet contemplation changes the world. Every action, no matter how small or large, changes the world.
And so, as I sit here looking out my window as the wind sways the trees back and forth, I can’t help but think about how important it is to remember the softer, quieter parts of life. I always seem to be on the move, doing one thing or another, tossed this way and that by the winds of life, but I tend to forget the quiet parts that let me think, let me enjoy the people around me. The wind is howling outside, but sooner or later it will become a soft and comforting breeze.