The weather turned on a dime last week. Just as we were going about our summer days, finally enjoying life on the back deck, the wind changed and the rains blew in. Blew in with trees down and power outages and all kinds of inconveniences in our 21st century world. Our lawn, which hasn't seen water in months, is the color of...well, dung, if you want to know the truth, has become a mud slick when our pups try to race across it to catch balls on the fly. And don't get me started on what they drag into the house. Or how I went from shorts and sleeveless shirts to bundling under blankets all in a single day.
Apparently I can write an entire post about weather. Yesterday afternoon while I was trying to put together a wedding quilt that should have been finished in August, it started to thunder. THUNDER. Now I don't know if thunder means anything in your neck of the world, but in my house, it means that a medium-sized black and white creature will try to climb on someone's head after the first BOOM! My lap was the only one in the house yesterday. She didn't care that I had a foot on a sewing machine pedal. Or that my hand was keeping fabric straight under a sewing machine needle. She simply heard that sound (before I did, I might mention), her feet came clattering down the hall and her head was bumping up into my lap. Causing all kinds of havoc to my sewing.
There's no pushing Maica away when she's that frantic.
Especially when the next round of thunder came hard on the heels of her landing in my lap.
No, the only thing to do was put aside my sewing, grab her tightly around the middle, where she was quivering and shaking. I just held on like I was a human Thunder Shirt.
(For those of you who know, we bought her a Thunder Shirt a few years ago, but because she has a cracked bone in her shoulder, she can't wear it without pain. I recently gave it to a good home).
Maica trembled but closed her eyes. I settled for the long haul of holding her for the duration of the pelting rain. It came down in sheets for a while.
Holding her through the storm. Not taking away cause of her fear, but holding her tightly in it. I can't tell Maica there's nothing to be afraid of. She can't understand me. I can only hold her. That's how this life works. It's how it works as a pet owner. It's how it worked as a parent, too. There were times when my children couldn't understand why they were afraid. They were too young. They simply needed to be held.
I'm like that too. Aren't you?
We're told not to be afraid. But to tell you the truth, sometimes I do feel fear. Sometimes what I need most is to simple be held. And I think He does that. in many and varied ways. Conversations with people who say words of comfort they didn't know we needed. The touch of a friend who simply 'gets' what I'm going through. And sometimes it's simply 'being' with another. I guess what I'm saying is that I've often experienced person being a Thunder Shirt for me. And a time or two, I've had the privilege of being a Thunder Shirt myself. What a cool thing that is. To be the Comforter. To hold and keep holding in the storm, until the trembling stops and the breathing calms. Not saying much, just being the shirt.
There is thunder in life. Storms beyond our understanding. How will you be the Thunder Shirt for your neighbor?