Calm after the storm

What a powerful storm front we experienced Sunday! Let us all take a moment in the coming days to pray for the family of the person whose life is a casualty of this rugged, unyielding storm. Let us also remember in our prayers those who are injured. May peace be in the hearts of all. May they know they are one with us and we share their sadness.

I trust that you are all well and have successfully cleared the debris and have power restored. Having lived in South Florida for over thirty years, I had the experience of preparing and cleaning up after many hurricanes. Texas is quite a different experience. This powerful storm descended upon us without warning. Limbs flying, hail pounding, the storm imposed its mighty presence throughout our city. As I drove through the neighborhoods on my way home from Unity after the storm, I was in awe of the amount of damage that had occurred in such a brief period of time. Oh, the amazing power and the beautiful gifts of Mother Nature.

As I sat Sunday evening in the dark silence that drew my day to a close, I knew that it would be more than twenty-four hours before power was restored. I began to recall the experiences of the many hurricanes I experienced in Florida. I recalled the frantic preparations, the hunkering down and sitting tight until the storm passed. I recalled the briefest of moments, a millisecond of time, that I felt calm before stepping out to asses the damage. I went back again and again to what had, until that moment, passed by almost unrecognized in the fury and flurry of activity. It was as brief as a sigh, as purposeful as an exhale to confirm I was still breathing. I had breath to affirm life and the living. The glimmer of calm after the storm.

This calm was often quickly interrupted by the news of people not surviving the storm, property damaged or destroyed and more. I wondered, how can I hold onto that calm amidst the storms of this life? Storms, both of nature and of living life, are bound to happen. How might I expand that millisecond of calm into hours, days, or even a lifetime of transcending these turbulent times of life.

I am called to remember my hourly mindfulness practice “present moment, wonderful moment”. These words of Thich Nhat Hanh comforted him in his time of exile from his homeland of Viet Nam. Through these words he was able to find a place within his being where he recognized each moment is indeed a wonderful moment regardless of what arrived in the moment prior or what awaited in the moment ahead. This breath, this moment, is indeed wonderful. The complete mindfulness meditation is one I have shared before and worthy of being shared again and again. You might enjoy knowing that the board of trustees pauses each hour during the meetings to experience this mindful moment.
Consider pausing for a moment to take in these words:
Breathing in. I know I’m breathing in. Breathing out. I know I’m breathing out.
Breathing in, I notice my breath is deep. Breathing out, I notice my breath is slow.
Breathing in, I calm my body and my mind. Breathing out, I am at ease.
Breathing in, I smile. Breathing out, I release.
Breathing in I return to this moment. Breathing out, I know this is a wonderful moment.

I am also drawn again and again to the words of I John 3:19-20 “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts.”

“God is greater than our heart”. No matter what troubles are pressed upon my heart, no matter what fear and worries run thought my mind, God is greater than that. God is greater than any storm that comes our way. Regardless of the catastrophe, I conjure in my mind, God is still greater than that. These powerful words rest on my bedside table as a gentle reminder.

May the calm after the storm be an ever-expanding moment in your life.