Hurricane Fireworks

It would be awesome to see fireworks during a hurricane. I mean, just think. You’re sitting there, crouched in your garage on the stained cement floor, feeling the waft of humid air from the opening. The spray from raindrops is pelting around your toes. Or maybe you’re not in the garage, but underneath a shelter near the water. In a gazebo, under a business’s overhang, out in the racing rain itself. The sky is gray with thick black clouds and the trees are spinning their leafy halos like a girl trying to get a bug out of her hair. Water is in the air, you can smell it. It smells heavy, and feels heavy to walk around in.
Then there’s a whhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrr as a streak crosses the gray sky. It curves sharply to the side, in the direction the wind is blowing, and explodes much closer to the ground than expected. POP! A burst of red, and the sparks fly everywhere! It starts raining harder, and the next firework fizzes out before it gets mid-sky. There’s a trail of smoke that is quickly diffused by another spiral of wind. Then the rain is gone and the next blast goes up–one of those fairy dust fireworks that looks like Tinker Bell sprinkling her dust in Neverland. BOOM! There are two rumbles at the same time–one the firework and the other a deep throated thunder. You feel the cement floor on your skin, or the wet pavement, or the wood in the gazebo. You taste the excitement and the rain and the wind and the breathless freedom and it all blurs together just like a hurricane as the rest of the fireworks go off–hit and miss, pound and sizzle–until it starts pouring again and you have to go inside.
At least, that’s what I imagine this Fourth of July will be like. In my hometown, which is relatively near the coast, there is a Hurricane Warning, Special Weather Statement, and Tornado Watch. The first depression has cannonballed into a miniature monstrosity and is set to devour my city tonight.
I’m sitting here remembering the last hurricane–Irene. It tore up our little wooded area and tossed leaves and sticks all over the place and made pines fall on roofs and flooded basements and popped electrical wires like guitar strings. And no air conditioning. It was miserable trying to sleep in the humidity. But…there was that special sensation of everyone being in some sort of trial, of a community coming together and helping to heal. My dad went downtown and cleaned up bricks and debris. My brothers and I pulled sticks and leaves from a neighbor’s yard. Some friends opened their home for my poor mother, who almost got our minivan stuck in a lake while trying to get home. Our whole church hosted a dinner for the people without electricity who were hungry for a home-cooked meal. I remember thinking that it was such a unique experience, to see people band together that way, that it was worth all the mess and discomfort. As Disciple says, “It’s worth the pain…God’s in the rain.” Not just in the sunshine. In the rain. Then there’s another song by Me in Motion…

“Sometimes I’m crying for relief…God let this night be over!
One word, if you would speak, could silence the storm.
Instead, your mercy has a way of turning heart ache to faith,
That hope will be reborn….
When I’m over my head, yeah, I’m waiting for a miracle
I’m fighting the wind and the waves, then the weight of this storm
Drives me straight to Your arms! You hold me, I know that I’m safe
In the eye of the hurricane…

If you’re not in the path of the storm, enjoy watching the rest of us on TV. And praying for us, please. The rest of you who are in this with me…put your cars in the garage, bring in the porch furniture, put thunder jackets on your stir-crazy golden retrievers, take down your American flags, and pull out the batteries and generators and flashlights. And hunker down to watch.
That’s what imma do. And I plan to enjoy it. Thinking about the music lyrics, and the people I care about, and the excitement and danger and anticipation that comes from having a storm in your life but knowing Who’s in control of it.
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Rain ^
Be safe people. Good night, or good morning, wherever you are.

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