The Author

Life or Something Like It

This morning I received a phone call from a friend who alerted me to the possibility of a thunderstorm with hail headed our way. I checked the radar on the internet, and my inner meteorologist told me that the tail of the storm looked like it would just barely clip us. In other words, no hail and not much rain. At least that is what the picture said.

Working away at my desk, I noticed that it was getting progressively darker. I began to reconsider my previous evaluation of the situation, walked downstairs, looked out the windows, and thought, “Well, maybe I need to park my car under a tree. I don’t think the wind will knock down the tree, and it might slow down some of the hail.” Before I could get back in the building, the heavens opened. Fortunately, there wasn’t much hail, but as I watched the pouring rain, I was beginning to doubt my radar-reading skills. It didn’t last long, but the rain was enough to make the streets run full.

As quickly as it began, it was over. Within an hour of the storm, the sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly. An hour or so later, I was in my car, making the rounds of hospitals and rehabilitation centers. As I drove the streets, I thought, “What a wonderful day! We don’t get many days in Dallas as pretty as this one.”

Of course, I am as wrong about that evaluation as I was about the earlier radar. We have numerous beautiful days here, plenty of sunshine and blue skies. I suspect that my remark was prompted more by the previous darkness than anything unique about the sun and sky. Their brightness was simply a stark contrast to the departed darkness.

I would have never known any of that, though, if I hadn’t been in the middle of it. If I had simply relied on a picture on a screen or stayed holed up inside, then the events of the day would have passed me by. It was when I was willing to become involved that I saw things clearly.

All this reminds me of the time some disciples first began to follow Jesus. When they asked him if he were the messiah, the promised one from God, he responded, “Come and see.” If you were to have asked them years later what happened next, I suspect they would have said, “Why, it was like the sunshine after a rain; like day when the darkness departs. It was the difference between looking at a picture and stepping into the scene. It was the difference between thinking about life and being alive.”

The day began with someone asking me to look up and to look out at what was happening in life. Of course, that’s the way it always begins.