Thunderstorms in the mountains are an adventure. I remember as a kid, sitting on the front porch of our mountain home watching the clouds roll in. From up on top of the mountain, you could see, hear, and smell the storm long before it arrived. The thunder moves over and around the peaks in the distance on its march towards my observation post. The wind always picked up just before the rains came, and then the mountains disappeared into the thick gray fog. From the violent spring storms to the gentle summer showers, the sound of the thunder announced the coming of the downpour. There were many times, up on top of that mountain at night, where the lightning was so frequent we said there were flashes of darkness. Like fireworks, only brighter and longer lasting. It was quite a noisy display of power and caused us all to huddle together in one room for fear of it. But being on top of the storms, and watching them travel helped me to know that they pass. Over and over again, I watched them come and then go. The fear of the deafening noise was short, because it would pass quickly.
Now I live in the valley, nestled at the foot of a mountain. Here the sights and sounds are different during a storm than from up on top. Here the thunder rolls for what seems like a long time due to its echo off the hills surrounding us. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish one clap from another because they meld together like waves crashing at the ocean. I am also acutely aware of the lightning, and how close it is. Since our house fire, caused by lightning, I have a new fearful respect for its power. I find myself a bit more on edge than I used to be when the lightning is hitting all around. The downpour comes in sheets, and while I love to listen to it, it obstructs any view. Here in the valley the storm doesn’t pass as quickly. It seems to stall out dumping its full wrath before moving on, only to have another follow closely behind starting the whole process again. When the bigger systems come through it seems as if the storm lasts forever with no breaks. The cool thing is that no matter which place you are, the clarity after the storm is the same. The air is fresh, the sun is bright, and all feels clean and new.
The life lesson is easily identified. Storms come. Thunder is earsplitting. Lightning is dangerous. Rain falls. Both when you are on the mountain or in the valley. The only difference is perspective. In one place, the knowledge of the fact that storms do not last forever is a comfort. You can see them come, and you can see them go. In the other place, it seems as if you will never see the light of day again. The storm is sudden and you do not always see it before it hits. You are taken off guard and it rattles in your head, not giving you time to grasp the truth that it is temporary. It is harder in the valley I think, because you cannot see. There is no view. But one thing is true, no matter what valley you are in or what mountain you are on…the storm WILL clear. There will be light, and freshness and hope again. Even if you cannot always see it during the storm…a new day is coming.
For those on the mountain who weather storms quickly, have compassion on those in the valley who cannot see the end in sight. For those in the valley, know that even though the storm brings destruction it also brings with it life giving rain. For all of us, who have been both on the mountain and in the valley, rest in the truth that storms are a part of life and growth. Waiting out the tempest from a safe place nestled in the arms of God is the best way to weather it…no matter where you are. It makes no difference where you are sitting DURING the storm; a new day is coming with a fresh clean clarity that only comes AFTER it.

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