A Storm Of Prayers

With storms raging all around us I couldn’t help but think back to another time when a storm was raging.

I was not yet ten.  We were camping out in the big old farm house of my ancestors.  Built in the 1800’s with logs so big I could not wrap my arms around them now as an adult.   It didn’t occur to me that that storm was one of hundreds if not thousands that that old house had seen and weathered.  Sheltering generation after generation of one branch of my family.

By the time we inhabited this old log house on weekends it had fallen in to disrepair.   Years of renters and vandals had stripped it of it’s beauty.  I had been approached once by an “old timer” who told me he used to sneak down the lane when he was a child and peak in the windows and marvel at the riches within.  I could only imagine.  And many a night and day I did.  I pictured the rooms as well as a child could.   I still pretend those rooms exist in my head, and I see dark and rich woods, colors that would be solid and heavy with purpose; to keep the light out, or to keep the warmth in.  But my imagination could not change what was by the time we would make our weekly voyage to the land of the log house. And on that  weekend it was storming.

And it was bad.

Lightening.   Rain lashing.   Thunder booming.  No tv reception could be had.  Back in the day of antenna and rabbit ears.  An old tv stood pretty much useless.   The fire place was roaring.  Dad had picked the best and largest room to rehabilitate.   We had filled it with beds and tables and used it to camp in all weekend.  Over the years we brought down old refrigerators and other items to fill the house with usefulness for our weekends.  For years we used that 150 year old out house on weekends.  How many generations utilized that old building.   One too many as far as I’m concerned.

That night I was pretty much just cowering in the room.  Between chores dad had us do to get ready for the weekend and a tassel of the other siblings running around and causing chaos I was about ready to scream.  I just wanted to hide from the storm.  Finally things started to settle down.

I have no idea what the others were doing.  My memory isn’t that good.  But I do remember, vividly, lying across one of the beds with my arms stretched out far above my head.  My toes pointing in one direction, my folded hands in the opposite direction.   Lying on my stomach.   Wishing to sink further in to the old mattress.

I was terrified of storms.  I thought I was pretty inconspicuous.   I was pretty scared of the storm’s potential.  Tornadoes happen out of storms like this.   I lay there and prayed like mad.  Because as we all know, if a storm is going to hit, and a tornado is going to be spawned and it is going to hit that house once in 200 years …. it’s going to hit it when I’m in it.

That was my thinking.

I thought we were all ignoring one another doing our own thing.   At any other time does one of eight ever think anyone is really paying attention to her?  No.  Of course not.

Dad walks by and laughs and says “what are you doing?  saying your prayers?”

I looked up at him.   And as parents are apt to do, he must have seen something in my face because his smile faded and he did a little bit of a face thing that said “oh”   and “I’m sorry” and he kept walking.  My dad believed in prayer.   So he left me to it.    But I got comfort from that moment.   He was out and about in the storm.   Like it didn’t matter.

But I kept praying anyway.

And with the storms raging tonight….I bet there is some little kid somewhere saying prayers like mad.   Right along with a bunch of big people too.   Stay safe everyone.   Storms are crazy.   Praying like mad with you.