Thursday, July 30, 2020

My Heart Trembles

I arrived at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in a state of wonder. Only a month and four days earlier, I was in the hospital. Now here I am. The month between was riddled with uncertainty, fear, and anxiety. Some days food felt like an enemy to fear. Some days the idea of injecting left me broken in tears on the bathroom floor for hours. Some days I couldn't imagine going back to my job at McDonalds, let alone moving to the Pacific Northwest. The month between also overflowed with joy. Words can't explain the satisfaction of saliva or energy or good eyesight when you've been living without it. I spent hours walking around my town catching up with good friend. Morning air and coffee and precious companionship. Then I flew to Redmond, Oregon. Not only was this my first flight by myself, it was my first flight as a diabetic. Finally, I sat on the dock, watching the sun set over the irrigation pond. Wonder. After all the drama, heart ache, and chaos that 2020 had to offer, I was at Crystal Peaks. 

I spent the first night in the boxcar on my own. It was wonderful. As an introvert, I had no problem enjoying the solitude and peace. It felt like I was living in my own tiny house . . . on the ranch I had been dreaming of seeing for over a decade. 

I never considered how wild and different the Pacific Northwest is from the Midwest. The east side of the Cascades is classified as high desert. Everything is red, yellow, and brown. Green lawns, pastures, and hay fields must be irrigated every day. Irrigation ponds and canals are completely foreign to me. In Wisconsin, it rains a lot. I personally love the rain. I love misty, foggy drizzle and powerful electric storms in the middle of the night. On Saturday morning, as I enjoyed the silence of my quarantine, the sky filled with thunderheads. The ranch staff were skeptical. I quickly realized that in this part of Oregon, even when it looks like rain, it rarely rains. As the sky darkened, the wind picked up, and the clouds turned green, I watched and hoped. 

Oh it rained alright! It rained and hailed golf-ball sized hail! For a few minutes I was terrified. The hailstorm sounded like a freight train and I was in a small boxcar surrounded by windows. Once I realized the windows weren't going to break, my heart filled with awe. 

The wind rushed and the rain fell. The horses ran around the pastures in panic (no fear, they regained their composure and hid in the run-ins). Lightning and thunder filled the sky. I walked out onto the porch when the hail passed. The wind and rain washed over me. The air was thick with power and noise. This must be what the Bible means when it says, "fear the Lord", I thought. I wasn't afraid of the storm, I knew I was safe. But my heart was beating adrenaline through my body at the sheer hugeness of the storm. Another thought crossed my mind, The same God who brought you through the hospital, through DKA, through injections, across the country, is the God of this storm. The God of the storm is the God who loves you, who is always with you. My heart filled with joy and wonder. 

At this also my heart trembles,

And leaps from its place.

Listen closely to the thunder of His voice,

And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.

Under the whole heaven He lets it loose,

And His lightning to the ends of the earth.

After it, a voice roars;

He thunders with His majestic voice,

And He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard.

God thunders with His voice wondrously,

Doing great things which we cannot comprehend.

For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’

And to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’

He seals the hand of every man,

That all men may know His work.

Then the beast goes into its lair

And remains in its den.

Out of the south comes the storm,

And out of the north the cold.

From the breath of God ice is made,

And the expanse of the waters is frozen.

Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud;

He disperses the cloud of His lightning.

It changes direction, turning around by His guidance,

That it may do whatever He commands it

On the face of the inhabited earth.

Whether for correction, or for His world,

Or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.

~Job 37:1-13