A Howling Wind

The mountain is alive and breathing as the wind stirs the evergreen trees, causing their limbs to bend and creak in submission and their pine needles to dance wistfully, like her hair blowing across her face in the sea breeze… I look out at the mountain side as it drops out to the valley with the sea in the distance, and there are thousands of trees bristling back and forth- one moment succumbing to the force of the wind and then fighting back to maintain uprightness… And the usual serenity of the mountain’s silence has transformed into a roaring white noise of dangerous and beautiful motion.

I can only stand outside moments at a time, as the motion around me overstimulates and gets in my eyes. It isn’t a cold wind, but somehow gives a chill to my bones anyway. I retreat inside next to the smoldering remains of logs in the fireplace. It’s easy to retreat physically by this fire, but I find that as I hide from the wind, there is still so much noise in my heart.

So much has happened in this last year. And it’s been like a howling wind blowing across the face of my heart that I cannot find shelter from. I’ve seen death, new love, new life, and the loss of love. Transition has been a violent force in my life that bends and creaks every fiber of my being- sometimes even breaking my heart. I haven’t written here in 10 months. Not because nothing has happened- it’s because everything has been happening. Perhaps it’s the cultural training I have as an Asian-American to save face and look stoic on the outside whilst a whirlwind howls within. I’ve told close friends that the emotions I have been feeling have been so intense in this last year that it’s as if there is a constant buzz and tingly feeling in my head and heart- much like a foot that’s fallen asleep- that’s with me when I wake up, when I’m going through the day and when I fall asleep.

I often get frustrated at myself as a feeler. These emotions seem to cripple and paralyze myself from within, and it all seems self-inflicted. I try to keep the hurricane contained and keep myself busy…

…but now as I find myself alone and silent, on this mountainside that seems ready to be uprooted by the violent gales that crash upon its rocky face, I hear a whisper within the howling- a familiar whisper, a whisper that is my gentle friend, but isn’t afraid to use violent force to get my attention. A friendship that can in one instant become a howling wind and pentecost fire of a jealous lover and Creator.

And perhaps this is the chaos and violent storm before the new genesis… that even there, He is present. He hovers above the violent waters. His feet do not sink within my interior chaos. Only he has the authority to separate sky from sea, sea from earth… to say to the winds and storm “Be still”… but perhaps in this season, He is the violent pentecost wind heralding a new beginning and season in my life. Maybe I have to come to peace with the hurricane within, because it’s more than chaos but redemptive creation power at work within me.

…I don’t know. But I know that I’m still standing, and whether He is the source of these howling winds or voice of peace the stills them… -or both- I know I’m not who I was a year ago. I’m not sure who I will be when I emerge out of this season that He is taking me through… But I know that whatever I become, I’ll still be standing- because it’s His mercy that keeps me upright. He has always remained with me, He is still with me, and He will continue to be with me when I come out of this, and because of that I know I’m becoming more like the man He’s created me to be.

לעולמ חסדו

His steadfast love endures forever

—-

“I once saw a stonecutter remove great pieces from a huge rock on which he was working. In my imagination I thought, that rock must be hurting terribly. Why does this man wound the rock so much? But as I looked longer, I saw the figure of a graceful dancer emerge gradually from the stone, looking at me in my mind’s eye and saying, ‘You foolish man, didn’t you know I had to suffer and thus enter into my glory?’ The mystery of the dance is that its movements are discovered in mourning. To heal is to let the Holy Spirit call me to dance, to believe again, even amid my pain, that God will orchestrate and guide my life”

– Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing

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