Disruption Due to Wind
I love watching the wind. You can see the movement of branches in a subtle breeze or trunks bending during strong gales. I love listening to the leaves respond to the wind. I hate when the weather app tells me there's "disruption due to wind" but not a single leaf nods outside my windows. I usually text Lissy a screenshot and complain about the wind not coming to my house and we have a conversation about what the weather is like where she is. She tells me if she can hear anything from the wind or if the rain is sending out a beautiful smell from the freshly wet earth.
I also love the fact that wind, breath, and Spirit are the same word in Hebrew. Lissy is in on the joke with me that the weather app is disrupted due to the Holy Spirit. That's why those screenshots and conversations are loaded with implications of us praising to God at work in nature.
Sometimes a tiny little breath can change the course of a life. "Sure I'll go rock climbing" hadn't made much of a difference in my life the first couple of times I said it, but the last was life altering. As I do annually now, Tuesday was an on purpose positive day for me. I took a deep breath and chose how I wanted to spend the day. Actually, more accurately, I texted Katrina that I wanted to leave Kandern and see a river, and she pretty much took care of the rest. After finishing work, Hannah, Katrina, and I hopped in the car and drove to Rheinfall.
It was so much fun to spend the day with two people who I love and to experience the beauty of moving water. (I miss the ocean living in a landlocked area.) The three of us wandered around the edge of the river and commented on the beauty of the water feature. Big sprays of mist carried a short ways, and we lamented the water wheel on the edge was not currently running. I enjoyed every bit of the adventure. On the way home we stopped for a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant tucked off the autobahn, and I ate the best tiramisu of my life. The restaurant was sort of a chance find, but I love the wind that charted that course instead of another dinner option.
The rest of the week was easy on my schedule, and I worked hard to care for my body despite not upping my treadmill time. I am still looking for the ways that I can target other muscles when my foot and ankle are uncooperative. I added extra focus on my glutes and abdominal muscles instead of walking more. Year eight is still looking up.
Another beautiful redirection happened yesterday when I called my friend Alyssa to read the Bible together. We started last week reading three chapters of John which I found to be a beautiful conversation. Alyssa admitted up front we were supposed to read Ezekiel last week, but she felt weird saying it and couldn't shake the feeling, so instead of picking up at John 4, we turned to Ezekiel 1.
What a disruption from the Wind.
Alyssa and I had an incredible two hour conversation about the first three chapters of this wild book, and it reframed my concept of communicating spiritual encounters. What language would a stone age prophet use to explain the glory of the Lord? What language would a twenty-first century teenager steeped in technology use to describe the same encounter? How gracious am I to others or myself when I try to explain what my experience of God is? Ezekiel was also told upfront his intended audience was a bunch of hardheaded rebellious kinsmen. Knowing me pretty well, Alyssa pointed out comparisons in my life to how Ezekiel is bound and muted at times versus released to speak difficult messages.
When I ended that call, I noticed a message from Maggie, and I replied asking if she'd be up for reading Ezekiel 1-3 with me. By chance, she was free then, and we had a whole different beautiful conversation rooted in the same passage of Scripture. I had no idea where the Spirit would blow this conversation, so I let Maggie speak first after each section and added some comments Alyssa had said or insights building on her thoughts. Our conversation centered on the responsibility Ezekiel had to obey regardless of the listener's responses. Maggie connected that to anxieties she had about leaders in her life who were acting irresponsibly. "It's not like it would change anything if I spoke up, so why should I?" The answer was more about if she felt convicted to call out irresponsible behavior than if her comments provoked change. I talked through some situations in my life where I wanted to be ready to be obedient even if I didn't think other people would change their behavior. My responsibility is my own obedience not whether or not someone will repent. As we ended our call, I felt a nudge to ask Isabel if she was free to do the same thing.
By complete God timing, Isabel happened to have time free on her Saturday afternoon to spontaneously call me. Incredibly, she told me this wasn't the first time that she'd been in need of encouragement and I'd randomly reached out. "Randomly." For context, I've never met Isabel face to face. I have no real basis to expect my words would help her, but a handful of times, I've felt a nudge, a breeze, a gust of wind telling me to send a specific encouragement to Isabel. Why not? What harm is there in encouraging someone? I actually had a nudge to send a note to another young woman who I've never met face to face on Thursday - but I ignored it. Why would she want to hear from me? The next day, I got on her social media to try and reach out, and I realized Thursday was her birthday - the first one since her fiance had died. What harm would it have done to text her Thursday? Well, when my nudge to call Isabel Saturday happened, I didn't hesitate, and it was a Holy Spirit thing for sure.
Isabel and I had a beautiful conversation that covered grief and gossip and everything in between. I loved her analogies using the kids she cares for to think about how God relates to us. I talked through some of my challenges in writing these weekly blogs in a way that is honest but honors boundaries (of myself and others). I shared some of my messy grief process, and she shared her recent lesson of not grieving prematurely when there are difficult things on the horizon.
I ended the conversation completely filled and ready for bed. I had woken up Saturday morning with literally one thing on my agenda: call Alyssa. Then the wind came in, and I spent nearly six hours in total reading and reveling in the beauty of Ezekiel 1-3. The first wild vision of the book begins with "As I looked, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north" and it just gets weirder from there, but I love every detail. In the middle of chapter three, Ezekiel says, "The Spirit lifted me up and took me away," but the ESV has a footnote to remind you that "Spirit" could be translated as "the wind," and my heart just bursts with joy thinking of how God chose to express his power in a way that I can see moving through the trees.