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Waiting for the Storm

October 27, 2012

Instead of immortality, the gods gave us human affection.

                                                                          --Eugene Mirabelli

 

We are all waiting for the storm and there’s always a storm. 
There’s always the quiet that comes before the storm and the quiet 
that comes after, disaster 
averted or limply borne. 
We do not bear disaster bravely, even if acts of bravery 
show our mettle; still we are limp before circumstance, 
powerless as downed wires sheared through. 
We are always waiting for the storm. 
It bruits in the distance, foreboding nimbus 
shadowing our hours, sheltering fears, 
sapping our strength to power its own. 

And we wait. Our births, deaths, 
--separate storms. But there are always others 
with their births, deaths and intricate 
anguishes filtering through decades— 
just a few decades--of mortal terror time and again.
We wait. We give aid. 
And just as greedily take, 
seeking shelter in the lean-to of human affection, 
the human heart not meant to last a hundred years, 
but strong enough to break and mend, break and mend, 
over and over, an organ that grieves, receives, relieves, 
and cleaves until it can beat no more, 
silenced, once and for all. 

We are all waiting for the storm and there is always a storm. 
The calm in the living room—gold light from the mica shade, 
the clay bowl’s milky glaze—collides with the forecast 
of the front headed toward us. It’s off in the distance 
till the hours bear it near, hapless and dangerous, 
these clouds full of woe. What do they know 
of mercy or blessings? That’s left to us, all we can do 
is bring our dying bodies close and closer, 
shoulder-to-shoulder--what's left?--and weather the storm. 

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I'm a writer, yoga teacher, Lutheran pastor, and music nerd living in New York. I find a feast in daily living - most days, anyway - and write about it here. 

Finalist for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize!
The frank and funny story of a church-geek girl who spent twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches as a Lutheran pastor, preaching weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.