Rain pours abundantly in West Glacier. The one thing about this little town I'll remember most is its sudden thunderstorms. They come and go in a flash, barely disrupting the seventeen daily hours of summer sunlight yet leaving a lasting effect on the greenery and coolness in the air. When it happens, thickening clouds quickly surge against the Belton Hills to the east, and a blue-sky, sunny day instantly becomes a reminiscence of the hurricane seasons back home. Even as I write this now, a rain patters at my window. A thunder rumbles through the valley. Spruce trees lift up their limbs to drink in the water as it falls.
It's a beautiful moment, when it happens. The power that occurs right above our heads, right above this modest little village.
There's a storm in particular that will never leave my memory. It happened a week or two ago, just after the Fourth of July.
The storm in itself had this unmatched aesthetic. I'd never seen a storm cloud so dark, with this unmistakable hint of purple. It looked like the swirling surface of a dark red wine, being twirled around in a glass of blue evening sky before reaching the omniscient taster's lips. The rain drenched our tiny town. Dime-sized hail, glistening like a beaded curtain in the slanted rays of the westbound sun, showered the ground below.
It was the kind of storm that made you run into the open with eyes closed and arms spread out wide. My teammate KJ and I did just that. We ran up and down the gravel street outside my cabin, following the rushing wind in its constant change of direction. We yelled into the storm in joyous exclamations– rain on me, God! or my soul is on fire!– but He drowned us out with His thunderous whisper.
It was also the kind of storm that had me write it into a poem:
Belton drowns in a shadow; the valley fills
like a basin where the clouds overflow.
To the west the sun shines still; slanted light
heats the pot where the storm boils.
Looking up becomes looking down,
straight into a boiling cauldron.
Silver hail floats off as steam, a stew swirls
in purple and grey.
A fire licks the lips of the bowl; from below, from above,
the orange wraps the pot in its heat.
The soup in the sky grows thicker.
But mostly, it was the kind of storm that delivers that much needed reminder to abide in God's Love with rejoicing in every moment of every day. I'd like to say I can rejoice in Him with the intensity of a rain-dance even in the confines of work or my solitude, but this isn't easy. As a ministry leader, I'm expected to shine His light in worship, work, and play– in every moment of every day, in both the excitement of a storm and the mundanity that may follow.
Every so often, God reminds me in one way or another to do just that.