“When the blasts of the day shift my times,
When the nature of things birth crimes,
Awaken the strength stored up for me
Lest I become entangled like a clanging chime” -Alan
Do you like them? There’s so many to choose from. Take your pick: ceramic, wooden, steel, iron, plastic (yuck), glass, blown glass, stained glass, seashells, aluminum tube pipes, hardware, engine parts and as my front porch version, bamboo. Run up to your nearest department store and have a field day with the overwhelming styles for the taking. A sister-in-law sent me a set of 5 foot long pipe chimes to hang from a higher tree branch. (It kept the neighborhood awake.) One of my high school pals replied on a Facebook post that he enjoys building his from scratch. (I’m still waiting for him to show me some love as I watch my mailbox.)
Long ago and oh, so far away, I must have had an aunt or great grandmother that had chimes swinging in the Texas wind from a porch or an eave. I wish I could recall just where I fixated on the “magical” sounds from the first set of chimes that caught my eye. My chime-hanging days didn’t start until I was well into my 30s. Before you know it, I had as many as 4 or 5 sets of chimes hanging from my patio portico. It drove Wolfgang, our Great Dane, nuts. When the Texas spring storms came blowing through, we had to raise our voices to hear each other. I know what you’re thinking. Go ahead, say it. “Moderation, Alan. All in moderation.”
When chimes are meant to be seen and not heard it would be a time like this morning on my front porch. The weather was still without a hint of breeze, laced with light rain and cloud-cover. It was quiet and pleasant, actually. But you know, I knew the weather conditions before I opened the front door simply because the chimes were denied their song. Here in Texas, wait ten minutes or less and the outdoor conditions will change. A front could roll in from the Oklahoma border that could flip my chimes on their heads, even to the point of seeing them in a horizontal position as the straight-line winds make havoc. When in the throws of horrific winds or gusts, the chimes ring out in more of a clamoring clash of tones that one might call, clusters. The audio aroma is lost in the violent sweeping torrent giving way to the chaos of what one might hear while a marching band is tuning-up. In those times, the chimes would be better servants to the ear if they remained still.
Am I reminding you of anybody you know well? How about me? When the storms of life hit me and I’m ruffled up pushing me out of my comfort zone, I begin to clamor and complain with the best of them. In fact, if panic occurs, I can be like bacon on a skillet. If you should step into my house on such a day, you will find me rustled and unkempt. More than likely, I will not be able to converse or keep my thoughts straight enough to understand whatever topic you’ve spelled out. Simply, I can be a mess. When the floods come or the tornado warning is accurate, I am unraveled. Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are episodes where I’m able to shut my mouth during those times as if calm and collected. More often, I shoot-off my mouth like a drunken blowhard. So embarrassing.
Troubles and pain can turn the gentlest creature into an ill-mannered buffoon. When those moments arrive and we clamor away like a verbal lawnmower cutting down everything in its path, how can one concentrate on finding solid emotional ground? How does one concentrate at all? It’s hard! Tell me about it. I know full well.
Let me ask a deeper, more complex question. Are you cool with that? Okay, here goes. In the whirlpool of disaster, HOW does one pray and ask God for help?
We have a free invitation to go to the Author of prayer to find the answer. You know what He said when asked how we should pray? I’ll paraphrase it here. “Our Father in Heaven, your name is truly perfect without a stain. Bring Your kingdom here soon. Accomplish and complete Your plans for us, right here on earth, just like it is done among those in Heaven…..” I’ll stop there. Notice the, “plans for us” are laid out in perfect order as He, the orchestrator and arranger of Heaven above, has done outside of our existence here, where we physically live. If He can organize and compose the songs of Heaven’s angels and saints beyond our vision of galaxies, then certainly He will perform His plans through your entrance, strife, struggle and exit to come. In that scope, what can the raging winds do to me that the One has commissioned Himself? Why squirm in the palm of the One Who tells the sea, “This far and no more”, and it obeys? Whether you know it or not, wish for it or not, believe it or not, this truth stares you in the face. We were built, fashioned, to face the torrents to come.
Sure, we will not always be silent and still. Yet, we do have instructions when the weather opens up its can. When so, we are able to unlock our caps for more fuel for the race.
“Be still, and know that I Am God…” – Psalm 46:10a