Preparing for the Storm

I finally got down to the dock early

Only the fishermen are usually out this time of day

And I don’t even see them this morning

A gentle wind blows

Such a contrast to the huge storm last night

Elsa blowing herself out

The skies clear this morning

Only a smattering of very low clouds

Mist floating above the glassy lake

The planks on the dock are soaked with last night’s rain

The only evidence there was ever a storm

The quiet lap of waves behind me singing a lullaby

Knowing a storm was coming

Jonathan covered the boat with the boat cover

Or else it too would look like the dock

Likely filled with standing water

I like weather at the cottage

Even when it means I can’t sit out on the dock

Reminding me of simple truths

How the windows must be closed against

The coming rain

The boat covered

Paying attention to weather reports

And the color of the sky

I too need to be preparing for storms

Because they always come

Some come suddenly with no warning

Others like Elsa build for days and weeks

Slowly making it up the coast

Was I “covered” for the storm?

As this year was certainly that

Stressed almost to the point of breaking

Did I close the windows and bring in the chairs?

Or did I go on blithely as before

Thinking I could miss this one Sabbath day

I had too much to do to rest

I could leave one window open surely

I could shorten my quiet time

Leaving a few more windows open

I could miss church once or twice

The boat left coverless

Open to the wind and water

No, I did not prepare well for the storm that was this past year

I left myself open to the elements

Adrift and taking on water

When the storm came

I broke

I wasn’t ready

Unprepared for the onslaught

“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:21-23

But his mercies are new every morning

So great is his faithfulness!

Even the orange tiger lilies closed themselves up for the night

Somehow the tender buds are still open this morning

Greeting the dawn

Their stems as strong as ever even after the wind and rain

Like the quiet gentleness of a morning wind

The Holy Spirit whispers words of conviction and encouragement

Seek first his kingdom

Isn’t a command for only times of peace

It is perhaps more important for the times of war and storm

A preparing of the warrior for the battle

A strengthening of heart and mind

Girding herself with the whole armor of God

Like a dancer stretching and strengthening their muscles

Before they can dance

And the endless scales played by the musician

Before they are ready to play the piece

I would never go into my classroom

Without a lesson plan

Literally I never have

I am a planner and a preparer

So why did I think I could go into life unprepared

In a year so unlike any that had come before?

Is it any wonder

That a warrior who has not slept nor eaten

Falls in the battle?

My error wasn’t in the heat of battle

It was in the lack of preparation for it

We are called to pray and listen

Bringing our requests before the Father

We are called to wait on the Lord

Listening to his voice above all others

We are called to worship

Aligning our hearts with our minds in praise

We are called to the Word

To read and to meditate on words that are more than words

We are called to the Sabbath

A rest from our labors as his burden is light

Here at the lake

It is easier to remember

What is important and what is not

This dock feels like a thin place

Where earth meets heaven

Like I could perhaps just step off this dock and into eternity

But back home

With all its distractions and people

I am still called to come

For God would not call me to do something

That could not possibly be done

Even if that is how it felt all year

He would and does call me to things

Impossible to do on my own

I was never intended to live on my own

The sun is beginning to rise behind me

Making the opposite shore glow in its light

The chapel at Keuka College a quiet sentinel along the water

Guarding the golden cupola of the magnificent Ball Hall

This is my favorite time of day here

A fisherman rows his canoe right past the dock

He is rowing with only one paddle

Switching back and forth

The wind is picking up a little

The leaves are playing their morning song

I can see the sun beginning to dry out the dock

Time to open some windows and breathe in the fresh air of a new day

His mercies really are new every morning

So great is his faithfulness

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