“Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’
“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:24-26).
Mom called the other morning totally upset! She had a list of three things, and when she has a list, all I can do is listen.
First, she was angry that one of the workers in her assisted living facility came into her room in the middle of the night and proceeded to close her blinds. Mother immediately protested.
Since I was a child, I can remember my mother loving light. “Windows are made for looking out of,” she would say. So, our curtains and shutters were rarely closed. Mom and Dad were always up with the sun and mother particularly was out early in the yard feeding the birds, working in her garden, and just loving being outside.
But the emergency that arose the other night was real. A dangerous storm was coming, and Mom needed to leave her room. Instead, she and the worker got into a tousle. When the well-meaning worker finally closed mom’s blinds, she sent mother’s lovely orchid crashing to the floor.
Instead of picking the plant up, she announced in a frantic voice: “The storm is here!” and proceeded to tell mother to get up and out of her bed.
Do you ever wonder where your faith and grit for life comes from?
I realized in those moments as I listened to my mother, mine comes from her. She went on to tell the worker that she “was not going to die in this storm.” She was in her 90’s and would live! I thought that was pretty gutsy. But she didn’t stop there.
She told the poor worker, who was probably pretty angry by now, that there had been storms “coming through her life” since she was a child, and she had not died! Then for good measure, she added: “I’m just tired of hearing bad things.”
“You said that?” I asked thinking she was also seeing way too many news reports.
“Yes,” she responded with a pause, “I did . . . I’m afraid I wasn’t very nice.”
“I understand, Mom,” trying to reassure her, “I’m pretty tired of all this ‘stuff,’ too. But honestly, the worker was just wanting to get you to a safe place.”
She softened and choked, “I know, but she didn’t have to break the plant Jay gave me.” Jay is my brother, who lives miles away.
I decided not to tell her he would be more than willing to buy her another one—because I knew she wanted that one.
She had babied it, watered it, turned it around every couple of day, so light would cover it evenly, and to add to the story: it bloomed on Easter!
Mother was more than frustrated—she was hurt. She saw that crazy little plant as a sign of hope and a promise that God was with her even in all of this Covid-19 mess. Now, her hopes where on the floor in several pieces, and dirt was scattered everywhere.
Second, it was 10 am, the day after the storm and she had lived as predicted. The blinds in her room were still closed, her room was dark, and she couldn’t see her birds at the feeder. Not good.
Third, the television cable was off, and she couldn’t watch her westerns. “We’ve just had a bad morning here,” she cried.
“Okay give me a few minutes,” I reassured her as I wondered how in the world I would turn her sorrow and frustration around.
I quickly talked with another worker, who agreed to rescue “Jay’s” orchid from the floor. It was lovingly placed in a new small pot and back on the window shelf. Blinds were reopened and light once again flowed in mother’s room. Then I prayed the television cable would be restored. It was and life resumed.
Days later, I’m happy to report the orchid has lots of new growth on it, her Easter moment was not lost, and more importantly I discovered where I get my grit for life from—the kind of grit that says, “I’m not going to die in this storm!”
Mom is right, the storms of life do come. They always have, and they always will. It’s how we handle them that makes the greatest impact.
So, here’s the question: Are you rowing to the other side of the lake as Jesus said, or sitting in your boat crying out?