I watched my daughter’s piano lesson, her teacher talking through a song note by note. They reach the end of the page and it sounds plain wrong. She asks the question, “Why do we end on this note? It sounds wrong, doesn’t it? It sounds conflicted. That’s because it is. This symbol here tell us that the song must repeat.”
She demonstrates how the ending comes around to resolve itself and when it does, it’s obvious. Even an untrained ear can tell; there is resolution. “Such a beautiful thing how that works,” I think to myself, “a song demonstrating the need for and recognition of rest.”
Another day, I teach my girls the language of numbers. Maybe not as obvious to the untrained, but the numbers want to be reconciled. They must equal something. We learn to balance the sides, even from the beginning with 1 + 1 = 2 The equal sign tells us there is something hanging. What could it be? This can be a struggle and so hard to make them agree. It’s easy to decide it must not really matter. Some of us just aren’t good at reconciliation right?
Yet another day, my children are curious about wind. They ask me where it comes from and how it is made. My simple response is, “Isn’t it amazing?! We don’t know how it’s made or where it comes from. We can’t see it, but we can see its effects. It’s like God; we can’t see Him, but we see His effects.” Every bit of my response mattering and truthful.
Later, they ask daddy and he so scientifically explains that warm air is always seeking a place of lower temperature and will move to fill it, balance it. That movement of the air is the wind. I listen with admiration at the things he knows. Maybe I heard that once in a science unit and it never came back around. Maybe I’d never heard it at all. No matter, I’m hearing it now.
In every one of these conversations, I was taken back to what I had once read, in The Children’s Blizzard. David Laskin wrote of a tragic day that marked history on the plains of The United States. It was the story of farmers, teachers, and children caught up by surprise in a blizzard and frozen while at work in the fields or walking home from school. As he explained the details of meteorology and the elements present to create such a storm, he wrote and etched in my mind,
“The atmosphere is in a constant search for equilibrium.”
I thought of the occasions a storm has blown through our house. Everything shutters, the children bend low. The roof seems to have been ripped right off our heads as the winds rush in, mocking our illusion of peace.
This kind of storm is no respecter of seasons. This storm is me, trying to make something balance that isn’t so. The mess that just happens when life is present. I suddenly saw a common thread between myself and the atmosphere. Whether we’re talking music, math, meteorology, or peace of mind, all creation groans for equilibrium.
Vanity, vanity, it is; this chasing after the wind.
Are we chasing after the wind?
Are we the wind?
Or are we wind chasing wind?
It’s tempting to think we are one with all that surrounds us, and in a way, yes. We were made from dust and then a rib. We are but a breath; a flower that blooms and is gone. So one could say we are one with nature, but what of it? The winds are in search, and so are we.
Somehow this brings comfort. It reminds me even the gales and gusts are small. This power we can see only by the leaves it blows and branches it breaks, is in need just as I. It is searching. As I trample over young ones in my care, carelessly spew words over those I love, and return again to a place of apology and repentant awe that I am capable of such destruction. I see that searching force, whether in a soul or a squall, knows it’s not home yet.
Standing in the congregation on a Sunday morning, honestly feeling the mundaneness of getting up early on a weekend and going through the motions of mustering up worship and attention to the Words, from devotion and commitment, I sing along,
“Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity,
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity . . .”
With the rhythm and words, the stirring of the Spirit which is over the currents of the globe, rises up in my soul, waking and refreshing my heart. Those words become bigger than the space they encompass on the screen we are prompted from. As I sing those words, I am swept up in gratefulness as I am reminded of my constant search for equilibrium; at how my waves have learned to heed his voice. Through the many fluctuations between high and low, He has been my Counselor, my Prince of Peace, and has filled my low places with a different breeze.
We and the wind continue in this story, this longing for home. The repeat sign appears again and again in the language of music to remind us, we are not yet at rest. Do you wonder why you just can’t carry a tune? Do you wish you would stop searching for that state of “just right”? Consider that just as the winds wander in search over the earth, its force a testament to God’s power and beauty, how much so your living off-key is a testament to the same. Don’t be afraid of that searching force feeling unsettled in your soul. Let it open your eyes to the horizon. Keep watching, keep listening, stay awake. When that last note plays, when the revealing appears, even the untrained ear will know that resolution has arrived. Life will equal peace. We will be home and at rest. The wind itself may have nowhere left to go because His glory will cover the earth, all low places filled, and end the song of all songs with that perfect, restful note, and calm the cry of chaos in our searching souls.