I sat in the passenger seat of our rental car looking out the window as we made our way out of the mountains to the airport.
“I don’t want to talk. I just want to listen to the radio and think,” I told my husband.
I was emotionally triggered and couldn’t quite find my way out of that place in the moment. We’d traversed our way into dangerous conversational territory again. Having successfully launched our oldest child and were leaving him after several days of helping settle him for his freshman year, our conversation had shifted to “what’s next.”
Transitions are hard for mothers. Transitions can be hard for everyone. Change isn’t easy. I was tentative about this next phase of my life now that one of my chicks had flown the coup.
Would our family ever be the same again?
My tears flowed freely—and I felt torn. I wanted to have the hard discussion, but I needed the grace that only time and space can provide.
That’s when I noticed the storm clouds outside the car window. Off in the nearby distance were hills and the huge cumulus clouds that bunched up over them.
I broke the conversational silence as Eric Church crooned over the radio,
“Look, I can see the rain just pouring out over the hills from the cumulus clouds—it’s amazing!” I described the impressive view so that my husband could continue focusing on the highway ahead.
As I reflected on the beauty, I was astonished at the unbelievable sight before me: a small cluster of silver-lined clouds to the left of the storm cloud – so close to one another they could almost touch.
I’d never seen robust silver-lined white puffy clouds right next to the dark gray storm clouds with visible rain pouring down—it was a stunning paradox that practically defined my mood. Joy right next to sorrow; happiness reaching out its hand to quell sadness.
The view out the car window struck me:
Isn’t this just like life? The sadness, the tragedy, the loss, the heartache often coincide right next door to the blessings and the grace. Sorrow is often adjacent to blessings.
It’s a paradox: God can turn the storm into the thing that ends up providing healing, peace, and joy. In this moment, I felt God’s tangible comfort and the Doxology came to mind:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow /
Praise him all creatures here below /
Praise him above, ye heav’nly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
(Tomas Ken, 1709, Trinity Hymnal)
My tears dried up as I relished the awe I felt. In this simple, yet profound, moment, this time was sacred. I would never be the same, yet I felt the assurance that the peace of God was with me through whatever trials lay ahead. I recognized that blessings come in all shapes and sizes, even in storm clouds on an otherwise sunny day.