Things We Can’t See
The wind howls from the south and rattles the windows. I watch the storm and revel in its power, surrendering to its majesty, and admiring its beauty and strength, I sit mesmerized by the window.
It occurs to me that no one really knows where the wind comes from or to where it goes. It blows where it will, when it will and we are powerless to stop it. We cannot see the wind, but we can its effects. We can see the trees bending, the branches breaking; we can see the wind push huge cottony clouds across an increasingly pale sky.
The wind shakes the house. I watch as shingles from a neighbor’s house are torn from the roof and blown like so much paper down the street. I watch the street turn from a peaceful lane into a whirlwind of wet, swirling debris.
I see a pizza box blowing by, and as I watch it I imagine a family, gathered around a television, eating pizza and watching a movie. Mom and dad were too busy or too tired to make dinner? Or was this pizza night for the family? Or maybe it once belonged to lovers, both sublime and ridiculous, embracing in between the pepperoni-laden bites. Or maybe it belonged to a lonely man or woman who, having no one to prepare a meal for, decided rather than going out for dinner, they’d stay home and curl up on the couch with a good movie – and a pizza. And maybe too, it’s just a pizza box.
Their are papers and cardboard and plastic bags blowing down the street, pushed and prodded by an angry, frenzied wind. As I watch I notice another squall-line There must be something wrong with me to want to see such things. Still, I watch the bleak black line of storms approach, listening for the sound of freight trains in the clouds – waiting for furious funnels to drop down from those dark clouds and rip the landscape with spinning fingers of destruction – approaching – this one seems much darker and ominous than the last. Perhaps this line will spawn the tornado I’ve always wanted to see. The fury of a dark, spinning column of fear, so powerful it can suck the heart and soul from a town. Why do I want to see a tornado? There must be something wrong with me.
I hear the rain pounding on the windows. The wind is screaming. Above its shrieks, I hear unknown things falling and pounding against the side of the house. But I hear no freight trains, and I see no funnels. I see nothing but torrents of rain being blown horizontal by a wild, wicked wind, I cannot see. There are no twisting, turning towers of death coming. There is nothing outside I can see but the rain and a dark, foreboding sky.
The line of storms passes quickly. I look westward and see no more lines of storms approaching. I look at the street and see it has now turned into a shallow river. Water is gushing down the edges of it, carrying with it any remaining debris left behind by the wind. The street is washed clean and now gleams in the strange, gray-orange afternoon light.
The wind ebbs and flows, but it is still fierce and undulates across a bent and genuflecting landscape. I can’t see the wind but I can feel its power. As I look out my window, I think about the many things I cannot see, but which I can feel. Love comes to mind. Has anyone ever seen love? Like the wind we cannot see love, we can only see its effects. A child and his mother; a father and his daughter, and a kite dancing in a mild, March breeze. You can’t see love, but can its affects; you can see the people it touches, and you can see the people it does not. The wind affects everyone, and so does love.
There are different kinds of wind, and there are different kinds of love. The wind can be many things. There are the first warm breezes of spring; they are the winds of renewal. These are the winds that lift the wings of love. There are the winds that lift a little girl’s kite skyward and make it dance. There are the harsh bitter winds of winter howling like a wounded animal on dark, foreboding, frozen nights. There are the welcome cooling breezes of summer which bring relief from the oppressive heat. And there are the stirring winds of autumn, servant of the trees, helping them to clean up and prepare for a long winter’s nap.
We don’t know where the wind comes from, and we don’t know where it goes. We don’t know where love comes from and we can never be sure of its destination. We can’t see love, and we can’t see the wind. But we can feel the affects of them both.
There are a lot of things we can’t see, but we can feel. We can’t see love and we can’t see the wind. We can’t see the germs that cause disease but we can see their affects in the sick and they dying.
We can’t see the pain in another’s heart. We can’t see faith. We can’t see hope. We can’t see a lot things, but we know they exist because we can see and measure their affects. Just because we cannot see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Sometimes the things we can’t see are the most powerful things of all.